Cantwell Votes to Move Forward on Bill to Help Veterans Land Jobs

WA state is home to 37,000 unemployed veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) voted to approve a motion to move toward consideration of S. 3457, the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012. This legislation would provide veterans with access to job training and workforce opportunities for the next five years to help them smoothly transition to the civilian workforce. The Senate voted 95-to-1 today to move to consider the bill.

Washington state is home to 37,000 unemployed veterans, of which 7,000 are post-9/11 veterans. Nationwide, there are 824,000 unemployed veterans, of which 218,000 are post-9/11 veterans.

“Too many veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling to find jobs,” Cantwell said. “In Washington state, 7,000 veterans who have served since 9/11 are without work. Our military men and women put their lives on the line for America and deserve the support of our nation when they return home. This legislation provides America’s veterans with the job opportunities they have earned and deserve.”

The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 would increase workforce training and create job opportunities for our nation’s veterans to help ease their transition to civilian life. The legislation would:

  • Prioritize placement of veterans in first responder and public service positions, including police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, with priority placed on veterans having served since 9/11;
  • Create conservation and resource management jobs for veterans to help restore America’s forests, parks, coasts, and public lands, with priority placed on veterans having served since 9/11;
  • Establish a pilot program to provide veterans with access to the internet and computers to help with job searches, as well as offer the military’s Transition Assistance Program to eligible veterans and their spouses at sites outside military installations; and
  • Provide veterans in rural areas with greater access to job search services.

Cantwell has also advocated across the state for an extension of tax cuts for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors. The Returning Heroes and Wounded Heroes Work Opportunity Tax Credits allow businesses to obtain a tax credit of up to $9,600 for each qualified veteran they hire to fill job openings, but they are set to expire at the end of the year.

On August 10th, she was in Pasco at In Home Medical, and on August 15th she was in Tacoma at J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding calling for Senate passage of legislation that would extend the tax cuts through 2013. The legislation, called The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act, was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on August 2 and is currently pending consideration by the full Senate.

According to the Washington State Employment Security Department, as of July 24, 1,725 veterans have been hired with the help of the Returning Heroes and Wounded Heroes Work Opportunity Tax Credits so far this year.

Cantwell helped enact these tax cuts as part of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act, which was signed into law last November. On April 1st, Cantwell joined Senator Dan Inouye (D-HI) at the Veterans Electrical Contractors Association (VECA) in Seattle to highlight how the tax cuts were helping veterans land jobs.