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DelBene Introduces Bill to Boost Veteran Employment

The legislation would accelerate job-training in manufacturing careers for veterans and service members re-entering the workforce.

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Washington, D.C., October 5, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) introduced legislation today to expand veterans’ access to long-term, good-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry by boosting training for those re-entering the civilian workforce.

“As a nation, we have an obligation to care for those who risked their lives to protect us and defend our freedoms. Too many veterans are still struggling to find jobs and as workers face significant challenges adapting to a rapidly changing economy, it is essential we improve 21st century employment opportunities for those transitioning back into civilian life,” DelBene said. “The Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act will help our nation’s returning heroes find good-paying jobs in a booming manufacturing sector and encourage our manufacturers to tap into one of the most skilled workforces available – America’s veterans.”

The Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act (H.R. 3963) would direct the Department of Labor to award $50 million in grants during the next five years to establish pilot State Manufacturing Employment Programs to support on-the-job training, apprenticeships and certification classes for eligible veterans through employers and labor-management organizations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 370,000 unemployed veterans are currently struggling to find work. That includes 139,000 veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. The outlook is particularly troubling for Post-9/11 women veterans, who face a staggering unemployment rate of 7.4 percent — the highest rate among all veterans, and substantially higher than the national jobless rate of 4.4 percent.

At the same time, more than 300,000 jobs openings are being posted each month in America’s manufacturing industry and U.S. manufacturers are predicting to reach 2 million unfilled positions in the next decade — largely due to the well-documented skills gap in advanced manufacturing.

DelBene’s legislation would expand access to skills training and apprenticeships for U.S. veterans in manufacturing career pathways, ensure veterans have the tools needed to translate their military skills to the civilian workforce and encourage manufacturers to recruit, hire and train our nation’s returning heroes.

DelBene’s bill was introduced during Manufacturing Week with 25 original cosponsors, including Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Denny Heck (WA-10). The American Legion, AMVETS and the Association of the United States Navy have also endorsed the legislation.

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