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Van Drew/Madden Measure Urging Designation Of National ‘Hire A Veteran Week’ Approved By Senate

Aims to Combat Disproportionately High Jobless Rate Among Veterans

TRENTON – The Senate today approved a measure sponsored by Senators Jeff Van Drew and Fred Madden urging the President to proclaim one week each year “Hire a Veteran Week” to remind employers of the value of hiring veterans and to call on employers, labor and veterans organizations to support increasing their employment.

The Senators said the purpose of their measure (SR-38) is to help combat the unusually high unemployment rate of veterans.

“In almost every age group, the unemployment rate for veterans is higher than their civilian counterparts,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “Designating one week each year to bring attention to the issue would be a good first step in addressing this problem. But, ultimately, business, government and community leaders must all come together to create job opportunities for our service men and women. That’s something we can and should do for those who have so bravely served our country.”

Last year, more than 1 in 5 young veterans – ages 18 to 24 – were out of work, according to U.S. Department of Labor figures. Their unemployment rate of 21.1 percent far exceeded nonveterans in the same age group, whose jobless rate stood at 16.6 percent. Veterans ages 25 to 34 had an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent, compared to nonveterans at 9.8 percent. And young women veterans ages 18 to 24 experienced significantly greater unemployment than their nonveteran counterparts, at 19.2 percent jobless rate versus 13.9 percent.

“The fact that veterans – especially our young men and women returning home from war – are suffering disproportionately with high unemployment, quite frankly, is unacceptable,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We owe it to our nation’s veterans to provide them with educational and job opportunities once they have completed their military service. And while we know there are already programs in place, it’s obvious that as a nation we must do more. As we work here in New Jersey to improve job prospects for veterans, it is my hope that Washington will renew its efforts on this same front.”

In January 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation which called upon the President of the United States to proclaim an annual “Hire a Veteran Week.” One goal of that legislation was to use that occasion to remind employers in government and the private sector of the value of hiring veterans. The measure also urged the President to call upon employers, labor organizations, veterans’ service organizations, and Federal, State, and local governmental agencies to lend their support to increase employment of the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.

The resolution approved today by the state Senate would express support for the designation and goals of “Hire a Veteran Week.” It would require that copies are transmitted to the President of the United States, the Governor, and each member of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation.