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Legion: Investigate Jobs for Veterans

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Legion: Investigate Jobs for Veterans
Bob Madden, assistant director of the Legion's National Economic Division, testifies before members of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Photo by Craig Roberts

The American Legion has called upon Congress to initiate an investigation of the Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program, part of the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS).

The state-based Jobs for Veterans program was created to provide services and training for veterans seeking employment. The current jobless rate among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is 15.2 percent, two-thirds higher than the national rate of 9 percent.

Bob Madden, assistant director of The American Legion’s Economic Division and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, testified March 3 before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. He said while the Legion supports President Obama’s recommendation to fund the Jobs for Veterans program with $166 million in fiscal 2012, it also “questions if the existing implementation of the program adequately supports the ultimate goal of employing veterans.”

In his written testimony, Madden said The American Legion contacted several states to gauge how they implement their state grant programs – including the use of staff positions for the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVERs).

Madden said the Legion’s research “underscored an overall lack of consistency and implementation, including various open positions for DVOP/LVER’s, lack of funding for the program, limited resources provided to eligible veterans, and questionable responsibilities and duties of each DVOP/LVER.”

The American Legion believes a thorough and proper investigation of state grant programs will provide DoL-VETS with the information they need “in order to get the program back on track, and provide veterans with the best possible service,” Madden said.

In order to improve the state grant program, The American Legion offered several recommendations to the subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.:

• Have the Government Accountability Office investigate and review inconsistencies in the program.

• Transfer all DVOP and LVER positions from state agencies to DoL-VETS for supervision and oversight.

• Appropriate $166 million for the program.

• Provide adequate oversight and scrutiny to guarantee that grants are meeting the requirements and provisions of existing laws.

Madden said the program “has the potential to be an effective and successful means to provide transitioning service-connected disabled veterans, and other eligible veterans, gainful employment.”

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USAR LTC

April 13, 2011 - 8:29pm

I find it very hard to believe that the American Legion wants to investigate the Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program and consider transfering all DVOP and LVER positions from state agencies to DoL-VETS for supervision and oversight. Currently, VETS has one State Director in each state with just a few additinal staff. How is this Director going to supervise over 70 DVOPS and LVERs? Now, state agencies provide supervision with no cost to the VETs grant. State Employment Service Programs enforce the Priority of Service regulations and all Job Service staff can provide services to Veterans with no barriers and allow the DVOPS adn LVERs to focus on those Veterans with multiple barriers who need additional attention. The Legion should focus on helping Veterans who need help instead of wasting time and money. DVOPS and LVERs are dedicated Veterans who are helping other Veterans. Stop playing politics with their positions and put more effort into supporting their efforts.

ruffnermb

March 15, 2011 - 7:19am

The American Legion can help in the success for DOL/Vets and the State DVOP/LVER program by connecting the membership that own businesses and/or are in the position of to recommend and hire Veterans. The American Legion Membership is untapped resource to get the Veterans face to face with employers and into jobs. Having a Post "Hire a Vet Program just as American Legion Baseball, Scouting and other programs should be as important as the GI Bill and the VA Medical Issues. This is a Grassroots Effort! Because the focus Nation Wide is by the current DVOP/LVER with little assistance. Regular Veteran Job Fairs hosted by the Local Posts with cooperation for the local DVOP/LVER will turn around the high Veteran Unemployment. Time to step up to the Plate - Vets help Vets! Semper Fi!

rstetson

March 5, 2011 - 11:38am

Lets get the private economy going to hire more of our vets instead of using them to expand the already bloated, union thug protected, National Civil Service. Expand the GI bill so our returning vets can get more education, and start lobbying industry, especially small business, to hire vets. And get rid of more of the paperwork and mandated benefits that stifle growth of small and medium business. Remember, the heros of the American Revolution and Civil War came back and built a nation AND they didn't do it with government jobs. Think about it!

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