Every day, hundreds of military service members who have valiantly served our country retire from the Armed Forces and begin their search for civilian employment.
July 25th is National Hire a Veteran Day, a day for employers to recognize our veterans as they enter the civilian workforce, and the many ways that employers and their consumers can benefit from employing our dedicated and talented veterans.
As a 24-year veteran of the United States Army, seeing that my fellow veterans are employed in high-quality professions is one of my top priorities as a member of Congress.
In Congress, I have introduced several bills to help our veterans gain meaningful employment. The VET TEC Enhancement Act that we introduced in April increases the allotted amount authorized to be appropriated for the highly popular VET TEC pilot program of the Department of Veterans Affairs that allows veterans to attend innovative job training programs to prepare them for future employment in the IT industry. The VET TEC Enhancement Act passed the U.S. House in May, and I am optimistic that this bipartisan piece of legislation will be considered in a timely manner as it enters the U.S. Senate.
Our bill, the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) National Emergency Extended Deadline (NEED) Act that passed the House in May will allow the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to pause the 12-year time limit to use VR&E benefits during national emergencies and other crises when eligible disabled veterans are prevented from leveraging those benefits through no fault of their own. VR&E programs are critical to providing training and support that enable disabled veterans to be as successful as possible in their future employment.
Bills like the VR&E NEED Act and the VET TEC Enhancement Act will work well in conjunction with existing programs like Home Base Iowa; a resource that connects Iowa businesses and employers with veterans and their spouses looking for civilian career opportunities.
U.S. veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and have proved that they are among the most dedicated, talented, and hardworking Americans in the job market, and hiring more veterans is a win-win-win for employers, consumers, and veterans.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a 24-year Army veteran and a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee currently representing Iowa’s Second District in the United States House of Representatives.