WASHINGTON – An amendment offered to the Defense Authorization bill by U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) was today accepted by voice vote. The amendment, Helping Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Return to Employment (HIRE) at Home Act, encourages the Department of Defense and states to more closely coordinate military training and state licenses and certifications requirements.
Johanns, a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said, “As many of our military heroes return home to civilian life, it’s important that we do all we can to ensure their success. By streamlining Department of Defense training practices and state requirements for similar civilian jobs, this amendment removes roadblocks for veterans using the skills gained in the military as civilians. It’s a small way to say ‘thank you’ to our returning service members and I’m glad the Senate approved this common-sense measure.”
Pryor said, “With a high unemployment rate among young veterans, we need to do everything we can to provide our service members with the jobs they deserve. By eliminating the expensive and time-consuming hurdles service members often face, the HIRE at Home Act will help ensure our returning veterans come home to new job opportunities.”
Pryor and Johanns said the HIRE at Home Act will encourage states to consider the specialized military training and experience service members acquire on active duty as filling all or some of the state certification and licensing requirements. The unemployment rate of post-9/11 veterans is 10 percent and more than 15 percent for female veterans – rates well above the national average – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Johanns-Pryor amendment was adopted by voice vote and the Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the Defense Authorization bill later this week.