By Debbie Gregory.
The Iraq war is over and the war in Afghanistan is drawing down. One million more service members will be coming home over the next several years. Veteran employment makes a big difference for service members transitioning into the civilian workforce. Hiring veterans is a great way to thank them for their contributions in defense of our freedom, and to ensure that when they return home, they are welcomed, respected and employed.
For the past two years President Obama has challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013. The private sector has already hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses. American companies have committed to hire or train another 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.
Yet, there are still 207,000 unemployed veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The unemployment rate for returning veterans is double that of other Americans. Various jobs for veterans are available but require licensing or certification.
In recent years, the Department of Defense and military services have increasingly incorporated civilian credentialing into their training for military programs. Some jobs for veterans require civilian certifications and/or licenses related to their military occupational specialties. Certification plays a key role in obtaining jobs for veterans such as mechanics, installers, medical technicians, therapists, computer network engineers, web site developers, and many, many others.
Hiring veterans is simply smart business. Veterans make great employees. Veterans possess invaluable job skills required by industry. Additionally, companies can receive tax credits for hiring Veterans.
- 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 doubles 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 is offered, 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.
The President is asking businesses to step to the plate and hire veterans and military, because it is the right thing to do.