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Bishop introduces House bill to help veterans find jobs

Photo by Joe Bellacomo

Photo by Joe Bellacomo

ALBANY, Ga. -- U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Albany, has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives meant to help veterans transition from military service and find jobs once they return to civilian life.

With nearly one in four veterans between the ages of 20 and 24 unemployed, the legislation would improve training programs for separating service members, and modify federal hiring practices to encourage the hiring of veterans after their service is complete.

The Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 that Bishop introduced is a companion to S. 951 introduced by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on May 12, 2011. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., joined Rep. Bishop as original co-sponsors of the bill.

"Our troops have gone above and beyond the call of duty to defend our country, but far too often, when they return home they cannot find a job to help make ends meet," Bishop said. "This legislation will dramatically improve the assistance and training available to our veterans, and encourage businesses and government contractors to hire the brave men and women who developed valuable skills while in the armed forces."

Along with modernizing federal hiring practices, the bill makes participation in the Transition Assistance Program mandatory for separating service members.

It requires that each service member receive an individualized assessment of jobs that they may qualify for when they participate in the Transition Assistance program, and requires the Department of Labor (DOL) to work with each veteran to determine whether they have a job or if they need more assistance.

"As the war in Iraq comes to an end and we begin to draw down our forces in Afghanistan, even more veterans will be looking for work," Bishop said. "We have an obligation to help our veterans land on their feet when they come home and help them find good paying jobs to support their families. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House and the Senate to pass the Hiring Heroes Act and provide more support to our veterans."