Schumer, Gillibrand aim to reduce unemployment among vets

May 14, 2012

New York's senators say they have three new pieces of legislation that will reduce unemployment among recent veterans.

At a joint press conference Monday outside Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) unveiled the three bills, which Gillibrand says have bipartisan support.

Unemployment among veterans who served after September 11, 2001 is more than 12 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Red tape

Two of the bills would expand training programs and education programs. The third tries to eliminate red tape for veterans with special skills garnered while serving.

"Too often when our veterans come home, they can’t translate all the skills and learning they received while serving onto a resume for civilian jobs," said Gillibrand.

According to Gillibrand, it's not uncommon for a veteran to have been a master electrician in the service, but was then forced to enter the civilian workforce as an entry-level apprentice.

The bill would require employers to recognize certificates from the military.

"Grease"

Expanding the existing Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to locations off of military bases would open the program up to more veterans and their families, according to Schumer.

"When a veteran comes home, they have lots of adjustments and changes to make. Getting a job can be that grease that makes the transition a whole lot smoother," Schumer said.

The third bill makes sure some institutions of higher education don't abuse the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The bill, according to Schumer, would change it so only accredited universities can accept money from the federal program aimed to help veterans pay for college.

At one point during his remarks, Schumer knocked a local TV station's microphone off the podium. After one of the veterans standing beside him righted it, the senator remarked with a laugh, "See? Veterans know how to do things that other people don't."