Lynchburg, VA - For U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, unemployment among our veterans is at an unacceptable level. The unemployment rate among recent Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is actually higher than the national average. That's one of Kaine's priorities in his first months in office.
Kaine was in Lynchburg Wednesday talking with our veterans about how to fix this disappointing statistic. Kaine made tackling the issue the very first bill he introduced in the U.S. Senate. And Wednesday, he told our hometown veterans his idea to lower unemployment among vets.
Kaine received a warm response from American Legion Post 16 Wednesday. He wasted little time glad-handing, and got right to business.
Kaine presented his Troop Talent Act of 2013, the first bill he introduced in Congress hoping to lower the unemployment rate among our veterans.
"Our folks who are leaving military service, they have all these technical skills and leadership abilities, but the civilian workforce doesn't understand what they bring to the table," said Sen. Kaine.
The Troop Talent Act has three goals: First, make military resumes more understandable to civilian employers; second, a little more policing to ensure credentials earned in the military mean something to civilian employers; and third, link veterans with job openings already out there, like in the IT field.
Ed Martin's a Vietnam veteran. For him, Kaine's bill has pluses and minuses.
"I think it's a step in the right direction, but they need to go a whole lot deeper. It's very little. They need to go a whole lot deeper than what they are," said Martin.
Kaine says the U.S. owes its veterans a lower unemployment number. But, Vietnam Vet Otto Davis says one thing's missing from the jobs bill: Veterans with disabilities.
"A lot of your Vietnam veterans are getting - how should I say it - beyond the age of employment. I hope it has an affect for the younger soldiers coming home," said Davis.
Kaine says fixing the veteran unemployment number is not just good for an individual veteran, it's a good for the entire economy.