By Debbie Wasserman...
Each November, we gather together to honor all of the American soldiers who have defended our great nation over the course of our 235-year history. Since our nation’s founding, men and women have answered their country’s call to service and defended the principles of liberty espoused in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
It is only fitting that the same month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving we also celebrate those who served our country in uniform.
Just as we must never forget their service and sacrifice, we must also stand firm in our commitment to help veterans as they return to civilian life. As the Iraq war draws to a close this year and as we begin to transition from Afghanistan, our nation will welcome even more of these brave men and women to the already 23 million veterans in America.
In Florida alone there are more than 1.6 million veterans, and as our men and women return home, we must ensure that they have access to the help they need to transition to civilian life, whether it is finding a job or securing health care and housing, or just getting back into the daily routine of family life.
After serving our country honorably and courageously, the last thing our veterans should have to worry about when they finally come home to their loved ones is whether or not they will be able to find a job. That is why I am proud to be a cosponsor of H.R. 1941, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, which would help get veterans back to work. I also applaud President Barack Obama’s expanded commitment to alleviate unemployment among our veterans, and to support our military families.
The President recently announced new commitments to service members and veterans as part of a comprehensive plan to lower veteran unemployment. This plan includes:
* Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits within the American Jobs Act for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and veterans with service-connected disabilities. These tax credits would be worth up to $5,600 and $9,600, respectively, reducing the cost for businesses to hire a veteran.
* The Department of Labor initiated a new online resource: My Next Move for Veterans, which links veterans with civilian jobs for which they are well qualified.
* The Obama Administration has also launched the Veterans Job Bank, a National Resource Directory, which is an easy-touse tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them.
Right here in Florida we need to work together to encourage South Florida businesses to make hiring veterans a greater priority. Earlier this month, I met with John Alfano of Pembroke Pines, the president of Doris Italian Market & Bakery, and Greg Ramos of Weston, the owner of Sources4, and we talked about the American Jobs Act and how tax credits for hiring veterans could help them expand their businesses. With these recent announcements, now this can become a win-win reality for small businesses looking to expand and veterans looking for employment.
To help South Florida veterans looking for work, I’ll be co-hosting a Jobs Fair for veterans with Congressman Ted Deutch Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Fort Lauderdale Armory from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Veterans and military families will be able to learn more about employment opportunities in the area and have a chance to meet with potential employers. We will also have people on hand to talk about how to enroll in the VA health system and learn about educational opportunities and other benefits.
America’s brave men and women in uniform should be able to count on the full and unwavering support of their government, whether they are active duty, or returning to civilian life. We must honor their service and give back to those who fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America.
I am proud to be an advocate for the people of South Florida, and my office is always open to you. You can reach us in Pembroke Pines at 954-437-3936, in Aventura at 305-936-5724 and in Washington, DC at 202-225-7931. I’m also available online at http://wassermanschultz. house.gov <http://wassermanschultz. house.gov>, on Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rep- D e b b i e - W a s s e r m a n - Schultz/88904724121> , and Comcast-ondemand customers can stay up to date with my work for you on channel 890.
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