Veterans Day: Obama Expresses Commitment to War Heroes with Job Initiatives
Each year on Veterans Day, we salute our nation’s veterans and recognize their service and commitment to keep our nation safe. Though a federal holiday filled with parades, wreath-laying ceremonies and other observances is a significant way to express gratitude, it isn’t enough for the thousands of veterans who are unemployed, wounded or disabled. On Nov. 7 in Washington D.C., President Barack Obama expressed concern that unemployment continues to increase among post-9/11 veterans, despite the skills and attributes they have to offer. “We ask our men and women in uniform to leave their families and their jobs, and risk their lives to fight for our country,” he said. “And the last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.”
Just in time for Veteran’s Day, the president announced executive orders to give tax credits to employers who hire post-9/11 veterans and wounded warriors, as well as enhanced career counseling and related services for veterans. According to the American Forces Press Service, tax credit incentives for employers to hire veterans are up to $5,600 in credits for each unemployed veteran and up to $9,600 for each veteran with service-connected disabilities.
Obama also announced new initiatives to help veterans find jobs. Six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling services at roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers nationwide are now available to post-9/11 veterans. A new job bank has been developed so that unemployed veterans can connect with companies seeking to hire veterans.
Government agencies are following suit. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set a goal to employ 50,000 veterans by the end of 2012. Secretary Napolitano announced Nov. 10 that veterans now comprise 25 percent of DHS’ civilian workforce, in addition to the 49,000 active duty and reserve members of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Small Business Administration offers programs and business training for service members and wounded veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to start a business or expand their existing businesses.
“As commander in chief, I want all our veterans to know that we are forever grateful for your service and for your sacrifice,” Obama said. “And just as you fought for us, we’re going to keep fighting for you: for more jobs, for more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong and to keep America competitive in the 21st century.”