Obama to call for Veterans Job Corps

May 31, 2012 at 9:04 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is set to press Congress once more to act on items that can help the economy now, focusing this time on a Veterans Job Corps.

The White House said Obama will travel Friday to the site of Honeywell International Inc.'s facility in Golden Valley, Minn., where he will call on Congress to take action on a "To Do List" he has been promoting for months.

The president will announce a new initiative under his "We Can't Wait" campaign, intended to push Congress to act quickly to promote economic growth. The proposal for a Veterans Job Corps "will help thousands of service members with manufacturing and other high-demand skills receive civilian credentials and licenses," the White House said in a statement.

"As thousands of our servicemen and women return from the end of the war in Iraq and the start of a responsible drawdown in Afghanistan, now more than ever we must fulfill our duty to them," the statement said. "In addition, the President's Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council have released a new report, 'Military Skills for America's Future: Leveraging Military Service and Experience to Put Veterans and Military Spouses Back to Work.' The report analyzes the labor market situation of America's veterans, discusses the challenges that returning veterans and military spouses face as they seek to enter or re-enter civilian employment, and outlines the measures the Administration has taken to address these challenges."

Honeywell is a participant in Obama's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, in which industry, universities, the federal government and others try to identify manufacturing opportunities in emerging technologies in hopes of promoting domestic manufacturing jobs.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. -- chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs -- said the president's proposal creates "the illusion of jobs" and called on Obama to urge the Senate to act on 12 veterans' bills already passed by the House.

"The ink is not yet dry on the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 that the President signed last fall, and now he already wants to spend another $1 billion on a Veterans Jobs Corps, without any way to pay for it," Miller said in a statement issued by his office.

"It would instead be helpful for the President to use his bully pulpit to promote the various provisions in the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to reduce veteran unemployment," Miller said. "The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), the cornerstone of the Act, which originated in the House of Representatives, began accepting applications from unemployed veterans, ages 35-60, on May 15. This provision will provide nearly 100,000 veterans the opportunity to retrain for a high-demand career. That is the type of solutions we need to be focused on -- long-term employment, not short-term rhetoric."

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