Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Veteran Opportunity to Work Act

Representative Jeff Miller introduced new veteran legislation on July 7. Representative Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, presented the Veteran Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433) as a comprehensive act designed to help combat rising unemployment among veterans. “Veterans are born leaders, hard working, and honest, characteristics employers seek. I am committed to reducing the veterans’ unemployment rate to below 5 percent over the next two years,” states Miller.

According to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs website, the Act addresses four main areas: Transition Assistance Program (TAP); Education & Training; National Guard & Reserves; and Licensing & Certification. First, the Act will ensure the effectiveness of TAP through an ongoing evaluation of success. It will also make it mandatory for service members to attend TAP as they transition out of the military. Under the heading of Education, the VOW Act will enable 100,000 unemployed veterans of past wars to receive up to one year of Montgomery GI Bill benefits. The VOW Act will also strengthen protections for returning National Guard and Reserve as provided by USERRA. Finally, the VOW Act aims to address the fact that many talented men and women have military occupations for which there is no certification or licensure and therefore have a difficult time finding civilian employment. The Act will work with the Department of Labor to identify roadblocks to employment for these veterans.

Also included in the Act is the Tax Credit to Hire Veterans Act of 2011 (H.R. 2443). This Act provides a tax credit to be applied to the purchase of capital equipment for small businesses that hire unemployed veterans. Miller sees this Act as integral to the VOW Act, because he believes a comprehensive approach, “…must include incentives for small businesses to invest in hiring veterans. This unique approach not only employs veterans, but also incentivizes small businesses to purchase capital equipment creating even more jobs for all Americans.”

A legislative hearing was held on the VOW Act on July 15. Read the transcript here.

Click here to read more.

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