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Friday, November 18, 2011

VOW To Hire Heroes Act of 2011

By: Tommy Eden, Attorney
Capell & Howard, P.C.

Veterans struggling to find work will have a better chance to land a job under a measure now headed for the President‘s desk for signature. The House passed the “VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011” by a vote of 422-0 on Wednesday after Senate passage on November 10. “No veteran who fought for our country should have to fight for a job when they come home,” stated the President after Wednesday’s House vote.

Veterans have had an especially tough time finding work after leaving the military. The latest government data shows unemployment among "Gulf War-era II" veterans at 11.7 percent nationwide, compared to 9.1 percent for the entire country. As many as 1 million veterans are estimated to be unemployed. The measure does the following:

Expanding Education & Training: provides nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits to qualify for jobs in high-demand sectors, from trucking to technology. It also provides disabled veterans who have exhausted their unemployment benefits up to 1-year of additional VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits.
Improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP): will make TAP mandatory for most service members transitioning to civilian status, upgrade career counseling options, and job hunting skills, as well as ensuring the program is tailored to individuals and the 21st Century job market.
Facilitating Seamless Transition: would allow service members to begin the federal employment process by acquiring veterans preference status prior to separation. This would facilitate a more seamless transition to civil service jobs at VA, or the many other federal agencies that would benefit from hiring our veterans.
Translating Military Skills and Training: requires the Department of Labor to take a hard look at how to translate military skills and training to civilian sector jobs, and will work to make it easier to get the licenses and certification our veterans need.
Veterans Tax Credits: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act provides tax credits for hiring veterans and disabled veterans who are out of work. The measure gives $2,400 tax credits to businesses that hire veterans who have been out of work for more than a month; $5,600 if they have been unemployed for more than six months; and rise to $9,600 if the veteran has been out of work for more than six months and was disabled as a result of service in a conflict zone.

Common Sense Counsel: hiring a vet has always been the right thing to do and now your business gets a tax credit. Show a Veteran genuine applause by giving them a job.

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Capell & Howard, P.C. and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and serves on the Board of Directors for the East Alabama SHRM Chapter. He can be contacted at or 334-501-1540.