TITUS: NDAA MUST SUPPORT JOBS PROGRAM FOR SERVICEMEMBERS, VETERANS

Oct 24, 2017
Press Release

October 24, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District joined 24 of her colleagues to send a letter to the Senate and House Committees on Armed Services in support of the Work for Warriors job placement program in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal Year 2018.

Nevada, California, Washington, and South Carolina currently have Work for Warriors and similar programs to help match qualified, unemployed Guardsmen, Reservists, military spouses, and veterans with open positions in partnering businesses. Nevada’s Work for Warriors program helped more than 565 residents find meaningful employment in 2015-2016.

The House passed the NDAA spending authorization in July with a provision to fund a pilot program to provide federal dollars for existing Work for Warriors programs and to create new ones across the country. The Senate passed its NDAA authorization without providing a provision for the Work for Warriors programs. Lawmakers must now work to add a provision to the bill in the conference committee to bolster funding for Nevada and other states. 

“With a proven track record in the West, Work for Warriors will help our nation’s heroes transition to civilian life and find good jobs so they can apply their training, skills, leadership qualities, and work ethic at local businesses in the community. The ball is in the Conference Committee’s court to ensure there are more opportunities for deserving servicemembers, their spouses, and veterans in Nevada and across the country.”

The program is supported by the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).

The letter is signed by a bipartisan coalition of 25 members: Reps. Pete Aguilar, Ami Bera, Julia Brownley. ­­­Salud Carbajal, Lou Correa, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Anna Eshoo, Colleen Hanabusa, Pramila Jayapal, Walter Jones, Ruben Kihuen, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Ted Lieu, Doris Matsui, Jimmy Panetta, Scott Peters, Jacky Rosen, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Raul Ruiz, Adam Schiff, Carol Shea-Porter, Dina Titus, and Mike Thompson.

A COPY OF THE LETTER IS BELOW:

 

The Honorable John McCain

Chairman

Senate Committee on Armed Services

228 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Jack Reed

Ranking Member

Senate Committee on Armed Services

228 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Mac Thornberry

Chairman

House Committee on Armed Services

2120 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Adam Smith

Ranking Member

House Committee on Armed Services

2120 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairmen McCain and Thornberry and Ranking Members Reed and Smith:

 

As the Congress moves to complete action on the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2018, we respectfully request your support for retaining House provision Section 504, Direct employment pilot program for members of the National Guard and Reserve. This provision establishes a national pilot program, administered by the Secretary of the Defense, to provide direct job placement and related employment assistance to members of the National Guard and Reserve as well as military spouses and veterans. The provision would provide federal matching funds to state employment programs, which operate at a fraction of the price of similar federal programs, providing a model for the rest of the nation.

 

As the bill’s language states, this pilot program would mirror the success of currently operating direct employment programs—the California, Nevada, and Washington Work for Warriors programs and the Operation Palmetto Employment in South Carolina—which were created to address the disproportionally higher unemployment rates in the National Guard and with military spouses. The programs match qualified, unemployed Guardsmen, Reservists, military spouses, and veterans with open positions in partnering businesses and guide them through the entire résumé, interview, and hiring process.  California alone has formed over 500 business partnerships.  Since the establishment of these programs, over 12,900 members have been placed into jobs in California and South Carolina and—with a combined total per-placement cost less than one-third of federal employment programs, which typically cost nearly $3,000 per placement, this provision could save significant taxpayer funds.

 

The California, Nevada, Washington, and South Carolina programs offer a blueprint for all states to create their own successful, state-run direct employment programs, which can be replicated in the remaining 46 states through this pilot. Similar employment-centric, state-based sister programs are being started in Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas, and Vermont, but are also under resourced. This effort is supported by the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), and the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).

 

Unfortunately, while an amendment was offered to the Senate NDAA by Senators Lindsey Graham and Kamala Harris it was not brought up for consideration and the provision now only exists in the House version of the bill. As you move forward in conference of the two versions of this year's authorization bill, we strongly urge you to include the House-passed pilot program to support the thousands of servicemembers and veterans who have found full-time employment and the thousands more who are in need of assistance.

 

Thank you for your consideration of our request and for your continued work on behalf of the men and women of the Armed Forces.

 

Sincerely,

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