Chesterton Tribune

Visclosky cosponsors 'Hiring Heroes Act'

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In an effort to help veterans successfully transition from military service to civilian employment, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, has co-sponsored the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011.

“In celebration of Memorial Day, I again want to express my profound gratitude and respect for the men and women serving in our armed forces, our veterans, and our military retirees, for their service and dedication, and for the tremendous sacrifices of their families and loved ones,” Visclosky said. “We in this country owe them a great debt of gratitude for the selfless sacrifices they have made for the rest of us. I intend to make sure that we pay that debt to those who gave so very much.”

The bipartisan legislation aims to enhance existing transition, rehabilitation, vocational, and unemployment programs for members of the Armed Forces and veterans, and implement new programs to help them find gainful employment.

“This Memorial Day weekend, we give special recognition to the brave men and women who serve or have served our nation, but we must work to fulfill our responsibilities to them and to their families every day of the year,” Visclosky said. “The Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 will help ensure that our veterans can successfully transition from military service to civilian employment. It is one of many actions we should take to honor their service and reflect the depth of our gratitude.”

Provisions of the bill:

• Streamline the federal process for hiring veterans by allowing service members to begin the federal employment hiring process prior to their separation, and by modifying federal hiring practices to encourage the hiring of separating service members.

• Eliminate barriers between military and civilian credentialing by requiring the Department of Defense, Department of Labor, and Veterans Administration to conduct a study and work to eliminate barriers between specialized military skills and civilian employment, licensure, and credentialing.

• Make mandatory the Transition Assistance Program and expand the program by providing individual job assessments.

• Preserve and expand vocational rehabilitation and employment services, particularly for severely wounded service members.

• Require increased employment-assistance outreach by the Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs.

• Create a competitive grant program for non-profit organizations that provide mentorship and job training programs that are designed to lead to job placements.

Complete text of the legislation can be found in the THOMAS database of the Library of Congress.

On May 23, the bill was referred to the House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs, Armed Services, and Oversight and Government Reform. The bill is a companion measure to S. 951 in the U.S. Senate, introduced by Senator Patty Murray on May 11.


Posted 5/1/2011