Presidential Memorandum Supports Employment of Veterans
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 31, 2012 President Barack Obama has made helping veterans find civilian employment and reintegrate into the nation’s workforce and economy a top priority, according to a White House fact sheet released July 19.
Obama issued a presidential memorandum that calls on agencies across the federal government to intensify their efforts to ensure fair treatment and equal opportunity for service members in federal employment.
In November 2011, the president signed into law the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a credit of up to $5,600 per veteran. The Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a credit of up to $9,600 per veteran.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative so far has helped 90,000 veterans and military spouses find jobs. Online tools were added to help connect veterans to employers.
The federal government has led efforts to recruit and retain people who served the country in the armed forces, according to the White House.
In Executive Order 13518, the president established the Veterans Employment Initiative to bolster recruitment and retention of veterans in the federal workforce. The initiative has ushered in 200,000 new veteran hires and at least 25,000 new Reservists to the federal workforce.
Veterans comprise more than one-fourth -- 27.3 percent in fiscal year 2011 -- of the federal workforce, the highest share in 15 years, the White House said.
Federal laws, including the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act provide critical protections to those who have served for the United States, including veterans and Guard and Reserve members.
To ensure returning service members have a fair opportunity guaranteed under the law, the president and his administration have established a zero-tolerance policy for USERRA violations across the federal government, the press release said.
Specifically, the memorandum issued today calls on all agencies in the federal government to:
-- Identify best practices: The presidential memorandum establishes a working group of agencies that hire the greatest number of veterans and that have expertise in service members’ employment rights to identify personnel best practices. Within 180 days of the issuance of the presidential memorandum, the Office of Personnel Management will then issue guidance to agencies, enumerating specific steps and providing tools to improve their compliance with employment and reemployment protections for veterans and service members, including improved training, information and education.
-- Improve information about those serving in the federal workforce: A critical part of better serving service members in the federal government is accurate data. In an era where many returning individuals have faced repeated deployments, it is critical to have detailed information about Guard and Reserve members and their experiences. Under this memorandum, the federal government will identify ways to improve data collection, with a particular focus on members of the Guard and Reserve.
-- Better information and services for those who serve: Continued outreach and education is critical to serving veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve effectively. Agencies will ensure human resource professionals, managers and other senior executives also have the training strategies and tools to support the employment, development and reemployment of service members in their workforce, and ensure legal compliance. Agencies also will continue to expand outreach to service members’ organizations so people are aware of their protections under the law, and connect Guard and Reserve members with resources to help them prepare for military leave from federal employment during duty activations and to help them integrate quickly into their agencies when they return.
-- Creating two new veterans’ tax credits: In November 2011, the president signed into law two new tax credits for hiring veterans, both of which were included as part of the American Jobs Act. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides an incentive of up to $5,600 for firms to hire unemployed veterans and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit doubled the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities to $9,600.
-- Challenging the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and their spouses by 2013: Since the president issued his challenge to the private sector in August 2011, more than 90,000 veterans and their spouses have been hired and 2,100 companies have committed to hire or train 175,000 veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013 through the work of the Joining Forces Initiative.
-- Increasing access to intensive reemployment services: Post-Sept. 11, 2001, veterans can download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced reemployment services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling at their local one-stop career center.
-- Developing online tools to boost veteran employment: The administration also launched the Veterans Jobs Bank, an easy-to-use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It searches more than 1 million job postings and is growing. Additionally, the Labor Department launched My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource where veterans can enter their military occupation code and determine civilian job for which they are well-qualified.
-- Increasing hiring of veterans in health care-related fields: The president challenged community health centers to hire 8,000 veterans -- about one veteran per health center site -- in the next three years. The Health Resources and Services Administration also pledged to open up career paths beyond nursing and expand opportunities for veterans to become physicians assistants.
-- Streamlining civilian credentialing for service members and veterans: Last month, the Defense Department established, under the president’s direction, a Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, which will identify opportunities where service members can earn civilian occupational credentials and licenses without the need for additional training. As the first action of the Task Force, all branches of the military worked with manufacturing credentialing agencies to enable up to 126,000 service members to gain industry-recognized, nationally portable certifications for high-demand manufacturing jobs.