I think all Americans can agree that veterans shouldn’t have to fight for a job once they’ve come home from the fight overseas. But, all too often, those who have sacrificed so much for America struggle to find a job worthy of their talents. As the President has said, “if you can save a life in Afghanistan, you can save a life in an ambulance. If you can oversee millions of dollars of assets in Iraq, you can help a business balance its books here at home.” Ensuring our nation’s veterans get the opportunities they have earned has been one of President Obama’s top priorities as Commander in Chief.
That's why President Obama called for a new Returning Heroes Tax Credit of up to $5,600 for firms that hire unemployed veterans and a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit that will increase the existing tax credit up to $9,600 for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities.These credits are included in the American Jobs Act. Unfortunately, these tax credits that could help companies hire veterans are held up in Congress.
While we will continue to work with Congress to bring up the American Jobs Act piece by piece, we will increase our focus on taking executive actions that fight for the middle class because the American people simply can’t wait. That’s why today, the Obama Administration is announcing two new initiatives to help create jobs for veterans.
1. Hiring 8,000 Veterans in Three Years: The Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge
Today, the Obama Administration challenged Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans – approximately one veteran per health center site – over the next three years. The National Association of Community Health Centers will also contribute to this effort and joined the Administration in announcing this Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge.
2. Helping Veterans Become Physician Assistants
Under this initiative, the Administration will make it easier for veterans to use the training they have received in the military to become physician assistants. We will begin to give priority in physician assistant grant awards to universities and colleges that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants. In an effort to expand the number of training programs that accommodate veterans, the Administration also will identify model programs that offer expedited curricula for veterans and that offer enhanced veteran recruiting, retention, and mentoring services, and help bring these best practices to other programs.
These efforts build on previous Administration efforts to create jobs for veterans including sending 600,000 veterans back to school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and hiring over 100,000 veterans into the federal government over the past year and a half. And just last week, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the American Logistics Association (ALA) and their 270 affiliate companies committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. This commitment is part of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative to support veterans and military families. The ALA’s commitment will fulfill a quarter of the President’s challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.
This work is also happening across the federal agencies.The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, are working closely with other agencies and the President’s economic and domestic policy teams, to lead a new task force to ensure that every member of the military receives the training, education, and credentials they need to transition to the civilian workforce or to pursue higher education. This initiative includes the design of a “Transition Boot Camp,” which will give service members additional counseling and guidance and help them depart their active duty service “career-ready.”
Over the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to take actions like these that will improve the economy and help middle class families including our nation's veterans because we simply can't wait.
President Obama also can't wait for Congress to: