As Veteran's Day approached this week, Assemblyman Fred Thiele offered an update about the latest initiatives geared towards helping those who served.
"There are few images more powerful than those of soldiers returning home to their loved ones," the Assemblyman observed. "Each year on November 11, our nation observes Veterans Day to honor and thank the men and women who sacrificed so much for our country. In addition to recognizing them on this day, I've supported efforts to help those who have left active duty search for a job."
Last year, the unemployment rate for vets between the ages of 18 and 24 topped 20 percent. The number is expected to surge as close to a million service members prepare to exit the armed forces over the next five years.
In an already-tough job market, vets have difficulty transferring skills they learned during military service to the civilian workplace. According to Thiele, the good news is that many companies and government agencies are working to bridge the gap by learning how to read military resumes and facilitating programs to hire vets.
"I'm working in the Assembly to help our veterans find good-paying jobs," he continued. Thiele has supported several measures including tax credits for small businesses that hire veterans and the passage of the Veterans Employment Act, which would require the state to develop a list of eligible veterans who would be given priority for temporary staffing jobs in state agencies. The Veterans Employment Act passed both state houses – the assembly and the senate.
To recognize and thank returning heroes for all they've done, Thiele supported the implementation of a speaker education program that allows veterans to share their experiences and provide information on American military history.
"Additionally," he said, "I supported a bill that would recognize the many contributions of veterans of the Cold War era by awarding each with a state Cold War Certificate (A.5890, passed both houses) and supported a law that establishes a process to determine the best site for a state veterans' cemetery."
Still another law Thiele helped pass requires the state Division of Veterans' Affairs to provide an Internet connection to correlate military occupations and skills into civilian translations and terms.
"This Veteran's Day, make sure to take time out to reflect on all that our brave heroes sacrificed for our freedom - and thank them," he concluded.