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Vets deserve a hand up

Published December 8, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Since the economic downturn, jobs have been the focus (or should be the focus) of the political debate. When it comes to unemployment, one population has special concerns: veterans.

From prior wars we know that veterans, especially combat veterans, lag in employment after serving our country. With high veteran unemployment comes a variety of societal problems.

Homelessness and suicide rates are typically much higher for unemployed veterans. As a society, we must help now or face worse problems later.

Disproportionately, the poor and minority populations enlist to serve our country. They are promised to learn skills that translate into civilian jobs, but then they face above-average unemployment after their service is completed.

The least we can do is open up every opportunity we can to them. The Veterans Job Corps Act is one of those ways. Last fall, it died in a cloture vote in the Senate when 40 senators balked at its $1 billion price tag.

If politicians are serious about creating jobs, there is no logical reason not to pass this bill. We spent $1 trillion making these patriots veterans; $1 billion is paltry to help them.

Congress needs to pass the Veterans Job Corps Act.

Roger Johnston

Provo