Isakson yesterday announced his support for the Careers for Veterans Act which “would help create long-term, sustainable jobs for America’s veterans by transitioning the skills they gained through their service into jobs in the civilian workforce,” according to a news release.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). Co-sponsors in addition to Isakson are Republican Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, John Cornyn of Texas and John Boozman of Arkansas.
Their news release said the measure “would require the Director of Office of Personnel Management to coordinate with federal agencies and departments to hire 10,000 veterans to fill existing vacancies, utilizing the Veterans Recruitment Appointment authority over the next five years.” The OPM would be required to report to Congress each year on jobs, grade, pay level and “number of veterans converted to career appointment.”
In addition to the federal hiring mandate, the bill would require states to set up a program to give exams to every veteran seeking a license or credential to be exempted from training or apprenticeship if they score satisfactorily on the exam and have at least 10 years experience in military occupation similar to a civilian job requiring a license or credential. There is also a provision for small businesses to assist veterans “attempting to navigate VA’s service disabled veterans-owned small business verification process.”
Isakson said, “This is a common sense approach to addressing the longterm employment needs of our nation’s veterans.” He said many of the skill sets that veterans have learned are needed in the civilian workplace “and this bill goes a long way in ensuring that veterans can leverage their skills into civilian careers.”
The bill is a sequel to Senate defeat of the Democrat-backed Veterans Job Corps Act last September. Burr, Cornyn, Boozman and Isakson voted against the job corps bill that fell two votes short of the 60 needed to waive a procedural point raised by Republicans who said the measure violated the budget control act. Heller was one of only five Republicans voting for the bill creating a $1 billion program to hire veterans as police officers, firefighters, first responders and conservation workers for parks, wildlife refuges, coastal areas and veterans cemeteries. It was modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps that provided jobs in the Great Depression.
In the Senate debate, one of the objections raised by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was that six job training programs already existed for veterans but there was no information on how they are working. He said reducing the national debt was the best way to help veterans in the long run. However, veterans organizations backed the bill and Republicans caught a lot of media flak for defeating the measure.
Now they have their own bill but what do you think its chances are in the Democrat-run Senate?