400,000 Colorado Veterans
This Veterans Day, I want to honor the men and women who have bravely served our country in uniform. Through their hard work, selflessness and courage, our veterans represent the very best of our nation and what we strive to achieve. They risk their lives defending our country so each generation may continue to enjoy our many freedoms. My father was a World War II veteran, and I hold our military’s returned heroes in the highest regard. From the shores of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan, our troops have stood up against tyranny and made the world a safer, freer and more prosperous place.
Today, 400,000 veterans — over half of the total number in the Rocky Mountain West — call Colorado home. They have served our country honorably in World War II and Korea, in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Veterans Day is about more than just thanking these heroes for their service; it’s also about remembering how much we still owe them. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, assisting veterans is one of my top legislative priorities. I hear from many veterans about the difficulties they face in transitioning back to civilian life, and I want to ensure that all veterans have access to the jobs, health care and educational opportunities they deserve.
The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is currently 9.7 percent, almost two points higher than the civilian unemployment rate. This disparity is unacceptable. Veterans have the skills, discipline and work ethic to succeed after returning home, but many of them find it difficult to adapt these skills to civilian career fields.
That’s why I am calling on Congress to pass the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012. The bill would create a job corps to employ veterans in fields such as conservation, resource management, law enforcement and firefighting. This common-sense bill is important for our veterans and our economy. It helps veterans translate their military experience into civilian jobs.
I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will work together to pass this legislation when we return to Washington in November. Our veterans have important skills and experiences to contribute, and it is our duty to ensure they can match those skills with job opportunities when they come home.