Economic Opportunities Committee
Economic Opportunities Committee Report, September/October 2014
Ready To Work
Last issue’s topic was the transitioning of returning veterans from the military to the civilian workforce. The challenge is in translating those military skills into civilian language so that employers fully appreciate the skills that veterans bring to the workforce. Most are ready to work, but the question is: Are there ready-to-be-filled jobs awaiting them? And, is there job training available?
In President Obama’s State of the Union Address on January 28, 2014, he stated:
What are some of the initiatives that will help veterans prepare for the workforce?
Due to the changes in the job market, many veterans will be seeking training for jobs in high-tech industries. I have been involved in one such initiative in Southern California. A partnership between the North Orange County Community College District and Fullerton College (the training location) offers training in three high-tech industries: printing (label and packaging), machine technology, and welding technology. Trainees must be U.S. veterans and attend the sixteen weeks of training classes daily. The training includes an industry-approved certification, and all classroom and tuition costs are paid by a grant. The program offers 12-26 college credits, depending on the program and job placement assistance. Veterans can apply and find more information by contacting Jonathan Carrasco at firstname.lastname@example.org
A caution about training programs and schools: Do your homework before signing any commitment. Not all institutions are reputable. For example: Even after announcing its closure, Corinthian Colleges continued to recruits students and to travel to military installations to speak with active-duty service members, according to Student Veterans of America (SVA). Due to such abusive practices, SVA created a “Not Recommended” schools list.
The Economic Opportunities Committee will continue to monitor job training and employment opportunities, and will disseminate that information to benefit all veterans.
BY FRANK BARRY
The VVA Economic Opportunity Committee, as required by Convention Resolution, provides this yearly report.
In keeping with the committee’s priorities, the focus was on jobs in the public and private sector, veterans who own or wish to own small businesses, identification of training to enhance quality of life for veterans and their families.
The committee supported various legislative initiatives: the VOW Act which President Obama signed in December; the Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act of 2011 which creates new businesses for veterans; Fairness to Veterans Act of 2011; National Guard Employment Protection Act of 2011;Help Veterans Own Franchises Act; Franchise Education for Veterans Act and the VET Act of 2011 which will allow veterans to use their educational benefits to start or purchase a qualifying business enterprise. A package of these bills will accompany President John Rowan when he testifies on the Hill in March.
Policies that the committee is challenging: the VA’s Vets First Policy for Service Disabled Veterans Small Businesses; the VA’s on-going recertification for disqualifying any veteran owned business; failure of most federal agencies to meet their objectives in procurement contracting.
In collaboration with other committees, the EOC is drafting legislation to stop predatory proprietary schools who are receiving veterans’ GI Bill funds without providing adequate training for securing jobs or valid degrees.
Another area of concern is veteran unemployment. The committee is raising awareness of the real unemployment problem which is in the National Guard and Reserve, not those coming off active duty as portrayed in the press. The committee will work on supporting legislation that addresses the unemployment of three groups: transitioning military/veterans, Reservists, and National Guard.
Respectfully submitted by Frank Barry, EOC Chair.
April 20, 2012
Call to Order
In Attendance: Frank Barry, Ric Davidge, Ted Daywalt, Marc Goldschmitt, Bob Hesser, Paul Ignosh, Dave Johnston, Rick Weidman, and Joe Wynn. Also attending Darrol L. Brown, President Nevada State Council.
· Expanding Education & Training: To begin moving veterans out of the unemployment lines, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 provides nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits to qualify for jobs in high-demand sectors, from trucking to technology. It also provides disabled veterans who have exhausted their unemployment benefits up to 1-year of additional VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits.
· Improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP): Too many service members don’t participate in TAP and enter civilian life without a basic understanding of how to compete in a tight job market. Therefore, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act makes TAP mandatory for most service members transitioning to civilian status, upgrades career counseling options, and job hunting skills, as well as ensures the program is tailored to individuals and the 21st Century job market.
· Facilitating Seamless Transition: Getting a civil service job can often take months which often forces a veteran to seek unemployment benefits. To shorten the time to start a federal job after discharge, this bill allows service members to begin the federal employment process by acquiring veterans preference status prior to separation. This facilitates a more seamless transition to civil service jobs at VA, or the many other federal agencies that would benefit from hiring our veterans.
· Translating Military Skills and Training: This bill also requires the Department of Labor to take a hard look at how to translate military skills and training to civilian sector jobs, and will work to make it easier to get the licenses and certification our veterans need.
· Veterans Tax Credits: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act provides tax credits for hiring veterans and disabled veterans who are out of work.
Staff Director Brinck said that the new TAP briefings will be mandatory for all military personnel (with some exceptions) where the vets will be more informed about the resources available to them. He stated that some veterans would be eligible for an extra 24 months of Voc Rehab if their initial 26 weeks had already been used. Under the VOW Act, there is a provision to implement a Veterans Retraining & Assistance Program (VRAP) where older veterans can get 12 months of retraining assistance in high demand occupations and $1,500 per month.
Staff Director Brinck stated that there is still a stigma associated with vets who acknowledge that they have PTSD. Ted Daywalt stated that some people even believe that PTSD is contagious.
Committee members had the opportunity to ask questions and clarify the intent of the legislation.
Next Committee Meeting October 5, 2012 in Silver Spring
Did you know?
As you are aware OPM has developed Feds Hire Vets web site to assist in the Veterans Employment Initiative? Go to www.fedshirevets.gov for more information.
BY RIC DAVIDGE, CHAIR We call it Econ Ops. That’s short for Economic Opportunities Committee. Why the change? Very few people understood what the old ETaBO Committee was, and we have decided to adjust our priorities.
The committee will now put as much effort into helping veterans become successful in starting their own business. We will not abandon our charge of ensuring that the federal government meets its responsibilities to service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses, but we know that many new veterans want to start their own businesses.
Keeping Alaskans Out of the Cold
STATE OF ALASKA REPORT TO GOVERNOR FRANK MURKOWSKI
VetJobs, Leading Internet
“We at Vietnam Veterans of America are pleased to endorse VetJobs, the nation’s largest military-related job board on the Internet,” said John Rowan, VVA National President. “With the unemployment rate of newly discharged military veterans hovering around 15 percent–three times the national unemployment rate–VetJobs is a key resource for them and for Vietnam-era veterans too young to retire.
“We have looked at many sites that purport to provide jobs for veterans and their family members,” Rowan said. “Our endorsement is meant to let our members know that VVA recognizes the success that VetJobs has had in finding quality jobs for thousands of veterans and their family members. We encourage them to use the VetJobs site: www.VetJobs.com.”