Obama urges Congress to help vets get jobs

June 1, 2012 at 4:56 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, June 1 (UPI) -- No one fighting for the United States abroad should have to fight for a job back home, U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday during a stop in Minneapolis.

Obama, speaking to about 1,700 people at Honeywell International headquarters in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley, pitched his plan to hire military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I believe that no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home," Obama said.

Obama said he ordered the Pentagon to create a program in cooperation with manufacturers to allow skills veterans learned in the military to transfer into certificates and credentials they need for civilian jobs.

"Unfortunately a lot of heroes with advanced skills are not hired because they don't have certificates," he said.

Obama noted the country was still fighting back from "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." The economy is growing again, but not as fast as expected, he said.

"Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but as we learned in today's jobs report, we're still not creating them as fast as we want," he said of the Labor Department's report that U.S. employers added 69,000 jobs in May and the jobless rate rose to 8.2 percent. Analysts expected more new jobs and the unemployment rate to be 8.1 percent.

After reviewing his "to do list" of legislation related to the economy, education, housing and other issues that Congress should pass, Obama said Congress also should help businesses create jobs and help veterans get jobs when they return to civilian life.

For Congress, "that means creating a Veterans Job Corps so we can put our returning heroes back to work as cops and firefighters, on projects that protect our public lands and resources," he said. "And they should do it right now. They should do it right now. But if we're going to serve our veterans as well as they've served us, we've got to do even more."

Noting the country just celebrated Memorial Day, Obama said, "We can't just be in a parade, can't just march. We also have to deliver for our veterans."

Standing up for veterans isn't a Democratic or a Republican responsibility, "it's an American responsibility," Obama said. "It's an obligation of every citizen who enjoys the freedom that these heroes defended."

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