U.S. Rep. Tim Walz's legislation to make it easier for veterans to find work after they leave the military won widespread support from the House and Senate and is now headed to President Obama's desk for final approval.
The Veterans Skills to Jobs Act would speed up the licensing process for veterans, allowing them to bypass federally required training for jobs they're already qualified for because they learned how do them while serving in the military.
The legislation, introduced by Walz and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., passed the House and Senate this week with bipartisan support and should resonate in Minnesota, which has one of the nation's highest unemployment gaps between veterans and civilians
At almost 23 percent, Minnesota also has one of the highest unemployment rates for post-Sept. 11 veterans in the country. That's twice the national average of 11.5 percent more than three times higher than the state's overall unemployment rate.
During his visit to Minnesota this summer, President Obama called for a "Veterans Jobs Corps" to find work for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The Obama plan shares similarities with Walz's legislation, which the White House praised this week.
"No veteran who fought for our nation overseas should have to fight for a job when they return home," a statement from President Obama read, in part."... we must all continue our efforts to ensure that these talented men and women whould be an asset to any company have every opportunity to succeed after they serve our nation."
This week, the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs Committee also approved Walz's HIRE at Home Act, which would streamline the state certification process for returning veterans.