November 7th, 2011
12:55 PM ET
President Obama unveiled three executive actions Monday aimed at helping unemployed veterans secure private-sector employment, the White House’s latest effort to bypass Congress with initiatives designed to spur economic growth.
Flanked by members of veterans associations in the Rose Garden, the president announced three new programs the White House says will reduce the time it takes a veteran to find a job. It’s part of what the White has dubbed the “We Can’t Wait” campaign – a series of moves Obama says he can initiate without congressional authorization.
“Just think about the skills these Veterans have acquired – often at a very young age,” Obama said. “Think about the leadership they learned – the cutting edge technologies that they've mastered. Their ability to adapt to changing and unpredictable circumstances you can't just get from a classroom.”
Among the new initiatives is a Veteran Gold Card which will provide post-9/11 service members with six months of personal career support, an online search tool which will suggest career paths tailored to a transitioning veteran’s position in the service, and an online jobs bank launched with the support of the leading internet job search companies.
Meanwhile the president will also renew his call for Congress to enact tax credits to businesses that hire recent veterans. Those credits, which were part of the president’s jobs bill that Congress blocked last month, amount to as much as $5,600 to a business that hires an unemployed veteran and $9,600 to a business that employs a veteran who was disabled during his or her service.
The congress is expected to take up those proposals later this week. It’s unclear if, unlike the president’s other recent jobs proposals, the tax credits will gain enough bipartisan support.
“I believe it's time they said yes to taking action that would boost the economy overall because the overall economy has an impact on veterans,” Obama said. “It's a lot easier for veterans to find jobs if the economy is growing rapidly and unemployment is dropping”
The unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans stands well over 11 percent – significantly higher than unemployment nationwide. And with thousands of troops expected to exit the service within the next two years as the war in Iraq winds down and other cuts hit the Department of Defense, the White House says that number is in danger of climbing.
“While our economy has added more than 350,000 private sector jobs just over the past three months, more than 850,000 veterans remain unemployed,” Obama also noted. “Too many can't find a job worthy of their tremendous talents.”