Washington, D.C. – In an effort to address the post-9/11 veterans unemployment rate of 10.1 percent, Senate Democrats hosted businesses and organizations from across the country that have shown a strong commitment to employing our nation’s veterans. The discussion focused on the initiatives these groups have developed to provide good jobs to our veterans, including the resources and support necessary for success.
“With over 77,000 veterans in Alaska, improving their quality of life and the rest of our nation’s veterans as they transition from active duty service has been one of my top priorities during my time in the Senate,” said Senator Begich (AK), Chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. “I was honored to be joined by Anchorage native Brandon McGuire who recruits and hires fellow Veterans at his union. His work and that of those in attendance for our discussion is an essential part of our obligation to make sure men and women who risked their lives for us have jobs when they come home.”
“We have got to do everything we can to make certain that when veterans come back from war they are able to find jobs and regain their place in their communities,” commented Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. “As chairman of the Committee, I am proud to say the committee has made tremendous strides in this area, but there is more work to be done as we continue to find high unemployment rates in this country, especially among our youngest veterans. It is important to recognize the work being done by private sector entities, like the ones that joined us today, and the initiatives and programs they have developed to employ veterans. We must continue to engage with the private sector employers to ensure that our veterans are not left behind and we are doing all we can to provide them opportunities to gain valuable work experience and civilian skills they need to obtain long-term employment.”
Though the overall unemployment rate stands at 7.2 percent, the jobless rate among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is nearly 3 percentage points higher than the national average. Overall, 708,000 veterans are without a job. Participants in attendance discussed how private organizations can continue working with Senate Democrats to ensure a successful transition for our veterans to civilian employment.
“As an Army War Veteran, I’m thankful of the hard work that obviously goes on behind the scenes for our veterans,” said Brandon McGuire, Recruiting Director, Local 367 of the United Association of Journeyman Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry. “It was somewhat eye opening the concern our leaders have in regards to this matter, and it was an honor to hear directly from Senators on such a wide range of issues.”
Senate Democrats have made fighting for veterans a top legislative priority by championing bills like the VOW to Hire Heroes Act that provides incentives for employers to hire veterans and the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act which enables veterans to faster to transition to the civilian workforce. The Senators pledged to continue providing unyielding support which our nation’s veterans have earned through their service.
Photos from this event can be found HERE.
About the Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee
The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and leaders from across the nation. Each year, the Steering Committee hosts numerous meetings with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Senate Democratic agenda. The Committee serves as a liaison between Senate Democratic offices, advocacy groups, and intergovernmental organizations. It is one of two Democratic Leadership Committees in the Senate and is chaired by Senator Mark Begich.