Bill Would Make Job Training Mandatory for Vets

Susan Hall

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who heads the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, this week introduced a bill to help ease vets' transition to civilian life. Called the Hiring Heroes Act, it would be a job-training program mandatory for those leaving the military. In proposing the legislation, Murray pointed to Labor Department estimates that the unemployment rate for veterans age 20 to 24 is as high as 27 percent.


The Seattle Times describes it as three days of training:

Government meddling? Not really.
Currently, 65 percent of Army men and women participate in the training voluntarily, which provides basic but highly useful skills in resume writing and interviewing. The course covers other things as rudimentary as interpreting body language, filling out a job-application form, writing a cover letter, and understanding benefits owed.

It will force them to focus on translating their military experience to a civilian world. Many vets struggle to do that, according to Alesia Benedict, president and CEO of

One of the problems we often see with former military resumes is that they are written in "military-speak" meaning terms and buzzwords not applicable to civilian positions. Unless the reader can understand the experience gained while the job seeker was serving in the military, it won't be seen as valuable to many hiring managers. It's not a matter of the experience itself not being valuable; the problem lies in the job seeker not "building a bridge" from the experience gained while in the Armed Forces to how a company will profit from that experience.

The bill also would allow veterans to apply for federal jobs before discharge, bypassing a long paperwork process now required to gain priority.


You can learn more at the website of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.


Meanwhile, Microsoft launched the Elevate America initiative for veterans. The company is contributing $2 million in cash and $6 million in software in partnership with six non-profit organizations to provide job training, placement, counseling and other support services, including child care and transportation assistance for veterans and their spouses. It already has a recruiting program for veterans called Military2Microsoft.


Cisco, AT&T, Verizon and EMC are among the companies that have joined an initiative called the "100,000 Jobs Mission," an effort to hire 100,000 military personnel leaving active duty by the end of 2020 and more immediately, to hire 20,000 by the end of 2012.

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