Veterans Getting Top Preference in Legislature's Job Creation Efforts
At least three bills call for action aimed specifically at putting vets to work
(WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
Legislators have vowed to make jobs this session's top priority. And jobs for veterans are emerging as first among equals.
House Speaker Brian Bosma says unemployment among post-9/11 veterans is 20%, more than double the overall rate. Captain Catalina Carrasco runs the Indiana National Guard's employment coordination program to match troops with jobs -- she says soldiers who join the military straight out of high school find that employers don't view their military experience as an adequate substitute for a college degree. And she says employers don't always trust that skills learned in the military are transferable to civilian jobs.
Brigadier General Brian Copes, chief of the Guard's joint staff, adds that some employers are spooked by media coverage into believing post-traumatic stress disorder is more common than it actually is.
The House on Tuesday unanimously voted to create a state Career Council to coordinate job training efforts, and specifically instructed the panel to consult veterans' groups. The House has also unanimously approved a bill to make it easier for military medics to be certified as paramedics.
Governor Pence kicked off the focus on vets with a Day One executive order setting a goal of awarding 3% of state contracts to businesses owned by veterans. A Senate committee has recommended boosting that goal to 10%, and allowing state agencies to set aside some contracts exclusively for veteran-owned businesses.