About our veterans and jobs

November 11, 2011

Commemorating Veterans Day is a humbling experience.

As we take the day to thank those who have served, it is often difficult to comprehend the struggles many of our veterans have endured. I have met so many of our veterans, and each one of their stories is unique. Many are harrowing, others heart-rending. The truth is, we may never fully understand the sacrifices they've made-we can only thank them and their families from the bottom of our hearts. 

I'm proud that our country comes together to support our veterans. At ceremonies across the nation, we will stop today to thank them for their service. And in Washington, Congress is coming together in bipartisan action around programs that help support our veterans and our active-duty National Guard members. 

VOW to Hire Heroes

Transitioning back to civilian life and finding work can be challenging for veterans, especially for those with service-related disabilities or without experience in the civilian workplace. Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan also have a higher rate of unemployment than the general population. We owe our veterans every opportunity to make a living, and we benefit from taking advantage of their skills. 

The VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which I supported in the Senate this week, works to do both. It offers tax credits to businesses who hire veterans, funds additional job training for older veterans, and makes it easier for veterans to apply for federal jobs while still on active duty. 

The bill is bipartisan, drawing on measures crafted by the White House, the Republican House of Representatives, and the Democratic Senate. It will not increase the deficit one dime. It will help veterans, and it will help our economy.

Our men and women in uniform are one of our great national resources, and their military training makes them an asset to many employers. This legislation takes common-sense steps to give veterans the tools they need to succeed. 

Helping National Guard Members and their Families

Just as veterans leaving the service face challenges in returning to civilian life, so too do members of the National Guard, who must frequently switch between military and civilian roles. Earlier this year, I worked with Sen. Kelly Ayotte to secure funding for the New Hampshire National Guard's Deployment Cycle Support Program. The program assists returning Guard members during the full cycle of mobilization, deployment, and reintegration, and assigns all Guard members and their families a professional care coordinator who proactively checks in on family members. 

The New Hampshire Guard has found that military members involved in the Deployment Cycle Support Program are four times more likely to stay married, four times more likely to stay in the military, and five times less likely to be homeless. 

I am glad that members of both parties and both chambers of Congress have come together to support these programs and make life better for our veterans. For while we can never fully repay the debt we owe our veterans, we are compelled to do our best to try.

By:  Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat Op-Ed