A survey sent to roughly 1,500 deployed Vermont soldiers in 2010 revealed that upwards of 30 percent feared they would be jobless upon their return to Vermont. They also expressed concern about converting military experience to jobs in the civilian work force, said Lt. Col. Marc Goudreau, head of the Vermont National Guard's Military Family Programs.
This week, the "VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011" was unveiled in the Senate to boost employment opportunities for veterans. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan remains stubbornly high. The Senate passed the legislation on Thursday.
- Tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months.
- Tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.
- Makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)-an interagency workshop coordinated by Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs-mandatory for service members moving on to civilian life to help them secure 21st Century jobs through resume writing workshops and career counseling.
- Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans, who are 35 to 60 years old, by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go towards education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools.
- Provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.
- Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, Homeland Security, or the many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.