(Hartford, CT) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today joined Major General Thaddeus J. Martin of the Connecticut National Guard, Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz, labor officials, and local veterans in calling on employers to hire veterans to curb the unacceptably high unemployment rate among returning servicemembers. According to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is 11.5% nationally and 15.5% in Connecticut – nearly twice the overall 8.4% unemployment rate in Connecticut.
Blumenthal introduced the Honoring All Veterans Act this past May to significantly improve aid and services to veterans in the areas of employment, housing, education and health care. He has also supported legislative efforts, such as the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides tax credits for businesses that hire veterans and expands education and training opportunities for veterans.
Blumenthal said, “Tens of thousands of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face disgracefully high unemployment rates - roughly double the general jobless levels. I call on employers to make use of the newly approved tax credits for hiring veterans and other programs - which I advocated - and keep faith with our brave military men and women. Employers’ New Year's resolution should be: Hire a veteran. To tolerate such joblessness would be shameful and unacceptable.
"With the exception of mobilization and deployment, approximately 75% of our CT Army and Air National Guard members are employed within the local communities,” said General Martin. “Legislation that seeks to further guarantee the right, of our citizen soldiers and airmen, to return to their jobs upon demobilization is essential to the operation of the reserve component."