Executive Actions to Get Veterans Back to Work – President Signs to Help Veterans and Wounded

Earlier this year, the President also announced a series of executive actions to help get veterans back to work.

These initiatives include:

Veteran HandshakeVeteran Gold Card: Post-9/11 veterans can now download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country.  This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans.  The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.

My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor has launched My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site also includes information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.

Creating a Veterans Job Bank: The Administration launched the Veterans Job Bank, at National Resource Directory, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over one million job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of this Veterans Job Bank. These resources can be accessed at www.whitehouse.gov/vets

Joining Forces: In August, the President challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans or military spouses by the end of 2013.  The President also asked First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to lead these efforts with the private sector as part of their Joining Forces initiative. In just over 100 days, more than 1,500 private sector companies have stepped up and already employed more than 18,000 veterans and spouses.  In addition, these private sector companies have committed to hiring 135,000 veterans and spouses by the end of 2013, exceeding the President’s challenge. Also included in these private sector employment efforts is a dedicated commitment to hire 5,000 wounded warriors.

Challenging Community Health Centers to Hire 8,000 Veterans in Three Years: The Obama Administration challenged Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans – approximately one veteran per health center site – over the next three years. The health reform law provides funding for community health centers to serve more Americans and hire more workers.  The National Association of Community Health Centers will also contribute to this effort and joined the Administration in announcing this Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge.

Helping Veterans Become Physician Assistants: To fast-track medics into jobs in community health centers and other parts of the health care system, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) pledged to open up career-paths beyond nursing and expand opportunities for veterans to become physician assistants.  Through this initiative, HRSA will begin to give priority in physician assistant grant awards to universities and colleges that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants.

Together, these initiatives and the tax credits will lower veteran unemployment through increased hiring, improve resources for veterans to translate their military skills for the civilian workforce, and provide veterans with new tools to aid their search for jobs.

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MilitaryConnection.com commends President Obama and Congress for working together to  help our Veterans.  We also admire the collaborative efforts between various federal agencies including the Department of Labor.  We invite those who serve who are seeking employment to use the multitude of resources our web site.  There are thousands of jobs, job tips, a directory of employers, columns by top job coaches and so much more.  When the next tour is back home, it’s on MilitaryConnection.com.

Tax Credits For Employers Hiring Veterans – $5,600 to $9,600

Attention Employers, Veterans make excellent employees.  They are disciplined and have a work ethic second to none.  Now Employers will gain tax credits up to $9,600 for Hiring Veterans in addition to it being the right thing to do.  You will also find disciplined and viable employees in all occupational areas with a work ethic second to none.  MilitaryConnection.com is the Go To Site and can connect you with candidates in all areas including but not limited to healthcare, high technology, security, law enforcement, transportation, banking, finance, sales, marketing, retail, trades and much more.  When the next tour is back home, it’s on MilitaryConnection.com.

Fact Sheet: Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits

In August, President Obama called on Congress to enact tax credits that will help get veterans back to work. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities with a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.

These tax credits were included in the American Jobs Act and were signed into law by President Obama on November 21, 2011.

Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits

Under the Recovery Act, employers who hired certain unemployed veterans were eligible for a tax credit of up to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages, for a maximum credit of $2,400. This credit expired at the end of 2010.

On November 21, 2011, the President signed into law two new tax credits:

  • The Returning Heroes Tax Credit is a new hiring tax credit that will provide an incentive for businesses to hire unemployed veterans.
    • Short-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages (up to $2,400) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks.
    • Long-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.
  • The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit will double the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.
    • Maintain the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for veterans with service-connected disabilities (currently the maximum is $4,800).
    • A new credit of 40 percent of the first $24,000 of wages (up to $9,600) for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.

As Veteran Student Enrollment Rates Increase, For-Profit Schools Rake in the Gold

Since the creation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, thousands of veterans have taken advantage of the government’s promise of tuition coverage for post-secondary schools. But veterans are not the only ones capitalizing on the government’s dime. In a recent congressional report stemming from an undercover investigation of 15 schools in the U.S., many college institutions are using deceptive and fraudulent marketing tactics to lure current and former military members into attending their schools.

The Government Accountability Office headed the investigation, strategically placing undercover applicants in the 15 schools. Some of the findings included the schools’ attempts to persuade the applicants to lie about their financial status, provide misleading *or* unclear information on the college’s graduation rate and misrepresent the applicants’ estimated post-graduate salaries.

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia originally drafted the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Senator Webb along with Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, gave the initial request for the review of the colleges.

The two senators claimed they had received word that some for-profit schools “may be aggressively targeting service members and veterans, signing them up for educational programs that bring little benefit to future employment opportunities.” There are additional issues as a result of the excessive tuition rates of some schools utilizing the government’s program. According to congressional aides, out of the top 10 recipients of funds from the GI Bill, seven were for-profit schools.

The senators are requesting a complete review of the bill as well as of the schools who have utilized fraudulent recruiting methods. Furthermore, they are asking for the VA to be more involved in the decision making process of which schools should be admitted into the program, what the schools’ drop-out and graduation rates are and if there has been any evidence *or* claims of veterans being cheated.

For more information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, visit MilitaryConnection.com. You may also use MilitaryConnection.com to register for the GI Bill by visiting this link.

Transfer of Education Benefits Soothes Graduate Students’ Financial Woes

A remarkable feat for the U.S. military and veterans alike, eligible recipients of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits can now transfer those benefits to dependents. The Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) Program is a great leap for military families with children or spouses wanting to attend graduate school but lack proper funding to do so.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill’s transferability program applies to service members who have provided at least 6 years of service and agree to extend their service 4 more years; have provided 10 years of service to the military; or are currently retired or will become retirement eligible any time between August 1, 2009 and August 1, 2013. Under these provisions, service members are able to transfer their education benefits to a spouse, to a child or to a combination of spouse and child. This added provision to the bill has opened up doors to many people who otherwise would not be able to attend a graduate university.

There are stipulations regarding extra costs covered by the benefits, but the bottom line remains the same: benefits will cover up to the highest tuition cost of any public school in the state—including graduate studies programs. For many dependents (and service members) this change couldn’t come sooner.

As the economy remains unsteady, many spouses and children are choosing to go back to or continue school in an effort to remain ahead of the game. TEB has made this possible for many dependents of military service members.

As the school year comes to a close, talk with your family about your education needs and discuss your goals. As high school and college graduates enter into the next phase of their lives, now is a great time to learn about the transferability of GI Bill education benefits. To learn more and to apply for GI Bill benefits, review our GI Bill information page. You can also calculate your BAH rate by using the calculator provided.

As always, have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend. Remember why we celebrate. Pass on a high five, a low five or a simple smile to a service member this weekend. Go ahead, make their day.

To all those who serve, past and present, thank you. You are appreciated.

Thanks for reading,
Katy