Bill aims to tackle Veteran unemployment

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By Debbie Gregory.

Over 200 years ago, George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans were treated and appreciated by their nation.” His words still ring true today.

Nationally, the number of veterans receiving unemployment benefits has more than doubled since 2002, to nearly 90,000 in 2012.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio is a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. He is co-sponsoring a bill “The Troop Talent Act of 2013” (H.R. 1796), which was introduced by Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-IL.

H.R. 1796 would speak volumes, expressing our nation’s appreciation for those who serve. The bill would make transitioning from the military to a civilian career easier by providing information during active duty service in regards to credentials and licenses that match specialty training. It would help them obtain civilian licenses and certifications from training and experience received in the military. The bill would also expand a Defense Department credentialing program that matches the skills of service members to civilian fields, such as aircraft and automotive mechanics, health care, supply and logistics, and trucking.

The American Legion showed strong support for H.R. 1796, and has been urging federal and state lawmakers, as well as industry leaders, to streamline the military-to-civilian licensing and certification process.

The Troop Talent Act would also reauthorize the Professional Certification and Licensure Advisory Committee, which was terminated in 2006. This committee’s experts would once again assist the Department of Veterans Affairs in assessing its certification and licensing programs.

Over the past year, countless leaders in the public sector have called on the business community to do more for America’s heroes. But our veterans need the government and the private sector to meet them halfway. Creative thinking and cooperation between the public, private and nonprofit sectors can go a long way.