Nathan Huret • Jun 11, 2020

‘Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020’ Will Help Veterans Unemployed By Covid-19

HKY4Vets North CarolinaIn 2019, unemployment rates for American veterans fell to its lowest point in twenty years.   Increasing community outreach and non-profit support programs for military veterans was making a measurable difference.

The Covid-19 coronavirus has had a substantial impact on unemployment rates.  For veterans, the month of June saw jobless rates almost reaching 12%.  In May, the jobless rate for veterans exceeded 20%, and advocate agencies have expressed that extended unemployment for veterans could lead to a large spike in homelessness.

Female veterans were the hardest hit by the coronavirus related labor contraction in the United States.  The unemployment rate for female veterans was over 5% higher than female civilians in America.  Some reports have estimated that as many as 1.2 million veterans employed full time could be affected by layoffs, reduced work hours, and pay cuts, as businesses navigate the domestic economic impact of Covid-19.

The Veterans Economic Recovery Act

House Veterans Affairs member Phil Roe (R-TEN) was joined by Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Senate ranking member Jon Tester (D-MONT) and Representative Mike Levin (D-CALIF) introduced the Veterans Economic Recovery Act.

The Veterans Economic Recovery Act focuses on a rapid retraining program to provide veterans who are unemployed (and reservists) with a full year of education and training benefits.  As the nature of labor or service roles changes because of social distancing requirements, some roles may never return.

But American veterans and their spouses can retrain with the support of the program, into a high-demand career opportunity in technology, healthcare or other high growth sectors and roles.  The benefits provided would be similar to the expansion of benefits veterans received after the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

The Bill is supported by the VFW, American Legion, TAPS, Student Veterans, AMVETS, IAVA, and other veteran service outreach and charitable organizations.

Who Can Receive Benefits Through the Veterans Economic Recovery Act?

The House Bill Veterans Economic Recovery Act also includes new and exciting provisions for American vets and members of the National Guard or Reserve.  There are age, unemployment, and discharge requirements to be eligible for the program(s) if the Bill passes.

The eligibility criteria require for veterans:

  • Must be aged 25 to 60 years old
  • Proof of unemployment on the day that they apply for the program
  • Must be discharged with honorable or other-than-honorable status
  • Must not be enrolled in another government (federal or state) job training program
  • Must not be receiving disability compensation for the reasons that led to unemployment
  • Must not be receiving any unemployment benefit when they begin the Veterans Economic Recovery Act job retraining program

To follow the summaries and progress of H.R. 7111 ‘Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020” visit the Congress website and sign up for email alerts.  Be the first to know about amendments and more details about what this new retraining program will offer military veterans.

Transferrable Skills and Retraining: What Kind of Jobs Can Veterans Qualify For?

That was a trick question because veterans can retrain and then qualify for any kind of job, they are interested in.  As a veteran participating in job search and retraining programs, vocational counseling and advice is provided.  An assessment of technical, communication, physical, and tactical / problem-solving and leadership skills.  From the profile of the veteran (including personal interests and strengths inventory), career recommendations are made.

That self-evaluation helps ensure that the retraining will be successful, helping the veteran to become competitive in the job market for careers that will provide a better income, advancement opportunities, and quality of life.  If a veteran is passionate about the industry or job, it increases the success rate and post-training employability.

What are some of the highest demand sectors that veterans could retrain?  Transferrable skills are an asset when retraining for a new career.  It is not surprising that many veterans choose to retrain into a civilian role that is similar to their specialty in the armed forces.

For instance, a retired corporal that worked as a cryptologic linguist (responsible for interpreting foreign military communications) can retrain for a career as a language teacher, at the middle or high school levels.   Or become a Court Interpreter for state or federal courtrooms.

Medical personnel in the army are frequently able to segue into a civilian medical role.  Nurses (RNs), LVNs, Medical Assistants, and radiological or diagnostic technicians usually do not experience problems transitioning into hospitals and private clinics for employment.

The United States Armed Forces has the most advanced technology on the planet.  Depending on the area of service and specialty, American veterans can leave active service with a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience.  Some veterans move into internet technology or web development, and military training is an asset to a career as a forensic I.T. specialist working on civil or criminal cases.

Trades like MiG welding, mechanics, and jobs requiring technical skills have a shortage of skilled professionals. For veterans who prefer trades work, retraining and apprenticeships can lead to high paying jobs for manufacturers.  With more experience, retraining may even lead to starting a small business and self-employment.

Honoring Veterans for Service and Providing Support Where It Makes a Difference

When military servicemen and servicewomen retire from the Armed Forces, the next chapter of their life begins.  Did you know that a large percentage of veterans have anxiety and worry that they will struggle to find a good employment opportunity?

Returning soldiers know that there can be an inaccurate stigma about veterans.  And that stigma can mean the difference between getting a job, a house and a new life, or unemployment and poverty.  The reality being that most American veterans are diligent, well-disciplined, responsible, hardworking, and loyal employees that provide a wide depth of tactical knowledge.  The talent that can benefit an employer.

If the Veterans Economic Recovery Act is passed, it will provide a path to retraining and employment marketability for deserving veterans who were laid off or dismissed as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus.  We applaud increased focus on veterans and their transitional needs from active duty to civilian life.



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