President Obama on Friday proposed a variety of programs, including tax credits and a “reverse boot camp,” intended to make a dent in the number of unemployed military veterans.
As of June, one million veterans were unemployed; the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was 13.3 percent. About one million service members will enter the civilian workforce over the next five years, reported American Forces Press Service.
The president proposed four major initiatives during his speech at the Washington Navy Yard:
- Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits. A new tax credit of up to $4,800 for firms that hire unemployed veterans; an increase in the existing tax credit for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed long-term (up to $9,600 per veteran); and an extension of the existing tax credit of up to $4,800 for all other veterans with a service-connected disability.
- A Challenge to the Private Sector. The president will challenge businesses to commit to hire or provide training to 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013. Joining Forces will lead the initiative with businesses and industry.
- Presidential Call for a Career-Ready Military. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs will lead a new task force to develop reforms to ensure that all military personnel receive the necessary training, education, and credentials to transition to the civilian workforce or to pursue higher education. These reforms will include the design of a “reverse boot camp,” which will extend the transition period to give service members more counseling and guidance and leave them career ready.
- Transition to the Private Sector. The Department of Labor will establish a new initiative to deliver an enhanced career development and job search service program to transitioning veterans at their local One-Stop Career Centers. The Office of Personnel Management will create a best practices manual to help businesses identify and hire veterans.
“Today, we’re saying to our veterans, ‘You fought for us, and now we’re fighting for you — for the jobs and opportunities that you need to keep your families strong and to keep America competitive in the 21st century.’ And at a time when there is so much work to be done in this country, we need everyone’s help to do it,” Obama said.
To read or view the president’s remarks — or to read comments about the initiative from Matt Flavin, director of the White House Veterans, Military Families and Wounded Warrior Task Force — visit the White House Blog.