New legislation aims to help veterans get back to civilian work -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

New legislation aims to help veterans get back to civilian work faster

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Both state and national lawmakers are pushing for new legislation that would help veterans get back to work faster. U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Texas State representative Dan Flynn have introduced bills that will cut the red tape that they say keeps a large number of service men and women unemployed for months after they return home.

For many military men and women, coming home doesn't mean the job is done. While service overseas is on hiatus, finding work is necessary but not always easy.

"When you're away from your project, away from your job or away from your company for a while, it is hard to kind of get back into it," says Naval Reserve Commander Frank Davis.

Davis returned to the United States from Afghanistan one year ago this week. It's bills that combat the veteran unemployment rate that could help him and so many others.

"I'm a business owner myself, so when I left, I had to basically close projects or allow my clients to go somewhere else. Since I'm back, I'm kind of having to rebuild that... rebuild that client list, connections with people and it does take a little while to re-grow your business," Davis says.

Senator John Cornyn's Careers for Veterans Act would, among many things, make it easier for veteran-owned small businesses to qualify for contracts with the VA. The bill would also require the federal government to hire at least 10,000 veterans over the next five years.

"This bill looks like it'd be beneficial to help streamline that, but also to provide avenues to apply for a project and to also look for jobs, too," Davis says.

At the state level, House Bill 45 would allow veterans to use their military training and experience to qualify for state licenses or credentials required for civilian jobs.

"These people are skilled. They're some of your best workers. They're people that have a high sense of responsibility and mission, then we turn around and tell them, 'you don't meet the standards because you haven't had our training,' but in reality they ought to be able to come in, take a test and get to work," says Texas State Representative Matt Schaefer.

For example, that would mean experience in military policing and security forces could easily transition into a job with local law enforcement. Also, training as a military electrical engineer could qualify veterans to take a test and get their state electrical engineering license.

The 10,000 and jobs that Senator Cornyn's bill requires the federal government to fill would be already existing vacancies. The federal government would not be asked to create more positions to employ veterans.

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