Legislation would help veterans more easily find jobs, senator says

By STEVE BENNISH | Dayton (Ohio) Daily News | Published: October 25, 2013

Proposed legislation would help veterans more easily find jobs in the private sector after they leave the service, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said at an appearance Thursday.

At American Legion Post 675 in Dayton, Brown said the Troop Talent Act of 2013 “would ensure a clearer and easier path to matching military skills with civilian accreditation.” The bill was introduced earlier this year.

The basic idea is to get the Department of Defense to coordinate more closely and effectively with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the problem, Brown said.

Brown cited Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showing unemployment among veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq in Ohio is 13.9 percent, almost twice the rate for the rest of the state. Nationally, the number of veterans receiving unemployment benefits has more than doubled since 2002, rising from 44,810 to 89,725 in 2012, Brown said.

“Far too many veterans with marketable skillsets have not found jobs,” Brown said.

Highlights include:

• Match military skillsets to civilian credentials or licenses more frequently with service members during their military careers. The bill would also encourage the U.S. Department of Defense to provide more information to credentialing organizations about military training and education.

• Prevent credential fraud by establishing strict standards for programs that guarantee a credential after completion. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would also re-establish a committee to ensure “efficiency, productivity, and legitimacy” in the credentialing process.

• Increase access to high-demand career fields for service members by expanding the current Defense credentialing program. A Defense pilot program matches skills of service members for aircraft mechanics, automotive mechanics, health care professions, supply and logistics personnel, and truck drivers. The bill would expand it to include information technology.

Master Sgt. Tyler Cobb, 39, of Springfield, who still serves as an Ohio Army National Guardsman, spoke with Brown about the need for the legislation. The intelligence specialist struggled to find work when he returned from Iraq.

Cobb said the biggest hurdle vets face is “transferring anything we’ve done, from simple to complex, to civilian employers.”


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