Legislation to help veterans find jobs was introduced Tuesday in a package of top-priority bills filed on the first legislative business day of the new session of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act of 2013. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the incoming chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, co-sponsored the measure. “At a time when one in 10 post-9/11-era veterans are unemployed, this bill honors the sacrifice of the men and women who served in our armed forces by providing them with training to find jobs or helping them get their own small businesses off the ground,” Sanders said. “The Veterans’ Affairs Committee will be looking very seriously at how to improve veterans’ employment and training programs,” Sanders added.
The legislation would reauthorize training and employment services created by the VOW to Hire Heroes Act.
A new online employment resource would be established for veterans seeking information regarding employment and job-training resources.
At a time when 85 percent of law enforcement agencies experienced budget cuts, grants would be authorized for police and fire departments to train and hire veterans as first responders.
The heads of federal agencies would be directed to favorably consider contractors that employ a significant number of veterans on all contracts exceeding $25 million. And the measure would allow federal agencies to suspend or debar contractors who repeatedly violate the employment rights of members of the uniformed services.