White Mountain Democrats Little Colorado Democrats
5-29-2014
House Passes Kirkpatrick’s Veteran Jobs Bill
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., to help veterans transfer their military skills towards civilian licenses and find jobs with employers who want to hire veterans.

After leaving the military, many veterans face obstacles finding jobs because they lack a civilian license or certification – even though they may have the same skills and training as civilians. In a tough job market, this creates one more barrier for our transitioning military men and women that can mean the difference between finding a job or not.

Kirkpatrick’s bill, H.R. 2942, would remove barriers to veteran employment by reviving an expert advisory panel (which sunset in 2006) to speed the VA’s recognition of new licensing and certification programs, allowing veterans to use GI Bill benefits to pay for those training programs and licensing exams. The panel’s subject-matter experts would also help veterans comply with licensing requirements that may differ from state to state.

“When veterans are able to put their skills to work, they can support their families, our local businesses thrive, and our communities benefit,” Kirkpatrick said. “We need to ensure their valuable experience in the military is not lost when they return home. These men and women have so much to offer in a workplace – not only teamwork, perseverance, loyalty and leadership, but also highly sought technical skills.”

H.R. 2942 is Kirkpatrick’s third piece of legislation to pass the House in the 113th Congress. The previous two were signed into law in recent months. In December 2013, her VA backlog legislation became law as an amendment to the Defense reauthorization bill. And last week, the Coconino National Forest Land Conveyance Act (H.R. 862) became law to correct a land-survey error that’s been in place since 1960 and unfairly burdened property owners.

Background

H.S. 2942 reestablishes the Professional Certification and Licensure Advisory Committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through December 31, 2019. (The committee terminated on December 31, 2006.)

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