Press Releases

DelBene, Bonamici Introduce Legislation to Support Veteran Employment in Manufacturing

Today, Congresswomen Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) introduced legislation to expand veterans’ access to long-term, good-paying manufacturing jobs by boosting training for those reentering the civilian workforce from military service. 

The Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act of 2022 would provide $50 million in U.S. Department of Labor grants to three states to establish veterans manufacturing employment pilot programs to support covered trainings and apprenticeships from employers and labor-management organizations for veterans.

“Our veterans represent a vital pipeline of skilled, capable workers, yet far too many are unable to find work after returning to civilian life. As long as there are veterans without work, Congress must do more,” DelBene said. “The Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act will honor veterans’ service to our nation by providing them with the training to leverage their talents to find long-term, good-paying manufacturing jobs.”  

“Quality manufacturing jobs and apprenticeships can change lives and put families on a path to long-term financial security,” said Bonamici. “I’m pleased to join Congresswoman DelBene in leading legislation to make these opportunities available to more veterans as they further their careers.”

While the veteran unemployment rate has gone down from 12.1% at the peak of the pandemic, over 61% of veterans are overqualified for their current jobs given their military-learned skills and military service experiences.

The discrepancy in unemployment between states is also particularly troubling. Veteran employment rates can be as low as 1.6 percent in some states and 7.6 percent in others. Across all age groups, more than 380,000 unemployed veterans were struggling to find work in 2021. 

At the same time, there are at least 790,000 American manufacturing job openings each month. Manufacturers predict up to 2 million unfilled positions in the next decade, largely due to a skills gap in advanced manufacturing.  

This legislation would expand access to skills training 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. 

The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At-Large) Robin Kelly (IL-02), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Ron Kind (WI-03), Scott Peters (CA-52), Joe Morelle (NY-25), Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), and Tony Cardenas (CA-29).

The legislation is also supported by the American Legion. 

A summary of the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act of 2022 can be found here and the bill text is available here.