By Donna Miles, American Forces Press ServiceNovember 9, 2011
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2011 -- President Barack Obama announced executive orders today to give tax credits to employers who hire post-9/11 veterans and wounded warriors, as well as enhanced career counseling and related services for veterans.
The president, flanked by veterans association representatives in the White House Rose Garden, expressed concern that unemployment continues to increase among post-9/11 veterans, despite the skills and attributes they have to offer.
Today's 9/11 generation has performed heroically in some of the world's most dangerous places, he said, and "done everything that we've asked of them."
"We ask our men and women in uniform to leave their families and their jobs, and risk their lives to fight for our country," he said. "And the last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.
"And that's why we're here today," he continued, "to do everything in our power to see to it that America's veterans have the opportunities that they deserve and that they have earned."
To incentivize employers to hire them, the president announced a new Returning Heroes Tax Credit that will provide companies up to $5,600 in credits for each unemployed veteran they hire. Similarly, a new Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers employers up to $9,600 for each veteran with service-connected disabilities they hire.
Obama also announced new initiatives designed to make it easier for veterans to find jobs.
Effective today, post-9/11 veterans can download a Veteran Gold Card that entitles them to six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling services at roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers nationwide. This service, which makes good on a pledge Obama made during a speech at the Washington Navy Yard in August, could benefit more than 200,000 post-9/11 veterans, White House officials said.
In addition, the Labor Department today launched an online tool, My Next Move for Veterans, where veterans can enter information about their military experience and skills to identify civilian careers that put that experience to use, the president explained.The site also offers information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs, officials said.
Meanwhile, a new job bank that also took effect today will help connect unemployed veterans to job openings at companies seeking to hire veterans, Obama said.
Developed in partnership with leading job search companies, the registry enables employers to tag job postings for veterans. Obama noted today that more than 500,000 job openings already have been tagged.
Meanwhile, the president urged Congress to move forward with his jobs bill that he said will further increase employment opportunities for veterans.
Obama recognized the leadership capabilities and specialized skills veterans bring to the workplace at a time when the nation needs those capabilities to stay competitive.
"Connecting our veterans to the jobs they deserve isn't just the right thing to do for our veterans, it's the right thing to do for America," he said.
Recognizing that Americans are commemorating Veterans Day this week, the president called it a time to honor those who have served in uniform and to "commit ourselves to serving them as well as they have served us."
"As commander in chief, I want all our veterans to know that we are forever grateful for your service and for your sacrifice," he said. "And just as you fought for us, we're going to keep fighting for you: for more jobs, for more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong and to keep America competitive in the 21st century."