Hire a Hero

As of December 15, 2011, the war in Iraq is officially over. While this was great news for the families of the thousands of troops returning home for the holidays, it added stress to a struggling U.S. economy with unemployment rates hovering around 8.6 percent.

And the job market has not been kind. Unemployment rates for veterans continue to outpace those for the general population. In fact, according to an ABC News Report, U.S. Veterans: By the Numbers,12.1 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are unemployed, and some signs indicate that the number is increasing.

But help is on the way.

The Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (VOW to Hire Heroes Act), encourages businesses to employ veterans by offering them a tax credit. The main components of the initiative, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Veterans’ Affair’s website, are listed below:

Hire a Hero Program Benefits

  • Tax incentives of up to $5,600 to companies hiring veterans and up to $9,600 to companies who hire disabled veterans (veteran must have been seeking work for six months or more).
  • Requirement that the Department of Labor assess what military skills and training may translate well into the civilian sector, and help make it easier for service persons to acquire appropriate licenses and certification.
  • Mandatory career preparatory and counseling assistance to veterans transitioning back into civilian life through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP).
  • Opportunities for service personnel to transition into careers at federal agencies prior to leaving the military to facilitate a seamless transfer to civilian life.
  • Additional benefits for unemployed veterans of past wars to qualify them for jobs in high-demand areas.
  • Up to one year of additional vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits for disabled veterans.

The hope is that these tax incentives for business, combined with extra assistance and benefits for veterans will ease the transition of service men and women back into the workforce and relieve the unemployment rates of vets.

An online job bank has also been established to connect veterans with employers, and additional Hire a Hero job search websites have touted positions with notable companies such as:

  • American Airlines
  • Discover Financial
  • Kindred Healthcare
  • Lexus
  • Toyota
  • Travelocity
  • UCLA

In addition to the incentives provided by the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, various GI Bills are aimed at helping military personnel pay for education programs. Hopefully, this new movement to help those who have helped their country will provide opportunities for service men and women as they transition from serving the nation on the battlefield to serving it in the workforce.


Resources:

  1. USA Today
  2. ABC News
  3. Department of Veterans Affairs
  4. U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Press Release
  5. Open Congress
  6. White House Blog


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