September 17, 2014

Manchin and Toomey Introduce Legislation to Protect Valuable Veterans Employment and Training Services

Senators Manchin and Toomey introduce the Protect VETS Act to restore employment and training assistance to our veterans

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey (R-PA) today introduced the Protect VETS Act (Protect Veterans Employment & Training Services Act) to restore valuable federal employment and training assistance to our military veterans. The legislation specifically aims to ensure that our veterans continue to have access to job assistance specialists that work with businesses to develop job opportunities for veterans, and help veterans find work—especially those disabled veterans with different employment needs.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that our brave veterans, who have sacrificed so much in defense of our country, receive the best care and services when they return home, and that starts by helping them find secure, good-paying jobs,” Senator Manchin said. “By reducing employment assistance to our veterans, we are not only ignoring our obligation to our heroes, but we are also ignoring the fact that the unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan significantly exceeds the national average. This legislation will reverse the Labor Department’s latest cuts and restore the critical job services our veterans rightly deserve.”

“I cannot understand why the Department of Labor would reduce employment and job training services for the vast majority of America’s veterans, especially when young veterans already face an unemployment rate exceeding the national average,” said Sen. Toomey. “Even worse, the Department of Labor has taken away these services from some disabled veterans.

“Since 1944, when Congress first created veterans job specialists in the GI Bill, we have recognized that America has a special obligation to help veterans find employment. We have also recognized that veterans are most likely to find jobs if they are assisted by jobs coaches trained in leveraging the unique combination of skill, discipline, character, and talent that veterans bring to the marketplace. Our veterans have proudly served us; the least we can do is ensure no veteran is denied the job services they deserve.”

Congress first created veterans job specialists, known as Local Veterans Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Specialists, in the 1944 GI Bill. These specialists are trained in leveraging the unique combination of skills veterans bring to the market place. In April, the Labor Department issued a guidance memo that forbids veterans job specialists, from assisting 70 percent of veterans, including some disabled veterans. Congress fully funded these veterans job specialists, despite the sequesters budget cuts.

The legislation proposed by Senators Manchin and Toomey reverses the Labor Department’s cuts and restores these valuable job-training services to veterans.

The following groups support the Protect VETS Act:

The American Legion
Vietnam Veterans of America
Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Vets First
VETS Group, Inc.