Hagan encourages businesses to hire vets
Yasmine Regester, Staff Writer | 11/1/2013, 11:36 a.m.
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan visited the Greensboro Veterans Center
Friday, October 25 to discuss a bill that will encourage
businesses to hire veterans.
Though the overall unemployment rate stands at 7.2 percent the
jobless rate among veterans returning from Iraq and
Afghanistan is 10.1 percent, nearly 3 percentage points higher
than the national average. More than, 708,000 veterans are
without a job.
According to Hagan, there are 800,000 veterans in North
Carolina with more than 34,000 in Guilford County. “When our
veterans transition from the military world to civilian life,
they need all the help they can get,” said Hagan.
Hagan shared that she comes from a military family, where her
father-in-law was a two-star Marine General; her brother and
father served in the Navy; her husband, Chip, is a Vietnam
veteran who used the GI Bill to help pay for law school; and
she has two nephews who are on active duty. She noted she was
familiar with the sacrifices not only the enlisted person
makes but also the families and loved ones.
“Many of our vets are still struggling to find work after
returning home,” said Hagan.
In 2011, President Barack Obama signed the Hire A Hero Act
into law that proposed a tax credit for any business that
hires a veteran who has been unemployed for at least four
weeks and an even bigger tax break if a business hires a
veteran who has been unemployed for at least six months. For
businesses that hire an unemployed veteran with a disability
related to their service, that business will receive a double
tax break on what is already in place.
Hagan plans to introduce the Hire A Hero Act to North Carolina
to help lower the veterans unemployment rate. The bill would
make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for Returning Heroes and
Wounded Warriors permanent. It provides businesses with a tax
credit of up to $5,600 for hiring a long-term unemployed
veteran and $9,600 for hiring a long-term unemployed veteran
with a service-connected disability. Hagan worked in 2011 to
keep the provision intact, which is currently scheduled to
expire at the end of year.
Kip Blakely, vice president of Industry and Government
Relations at TIMCO, attended the announcement with Sen. Hagan
noting that over half of TIMCO’s employees are veterans.
“Many of our veterans are of the Vietnam era and are beginning
to retire. It is now critical to pass Senator Hagan’s Hire A
Hero Act because TIMCO wants to replace veterans with
veterans,” said Blakely.
The Greensboro/High Point/Guilford County Workforce
Development Board is also supporting the Hire A Hero Act by
implementing systems to help veterans find employment.
“As a part of enhancing services, there will be a staff person
at the Joblink centers to work solely with veterans on job
placement. It also includes helping them transfer their
military skills to employable skills,” said Lillian Plummer,
executive director of Workforce Development. Plummer estimated
that Workforce Development has helped more than 300
transitioning veterans over the past year.
The Greensboro Veterans Center provides readjustment
counseling and support to combat veterans and their families.
David Benson, Team Leader at the Greensboro Veterans Center
said, “Our goal is to help veterans to be successful in their
transition back into civilian life and to provide support to
families who lost loved ones on active duty.” The Greensboro
Veterans Center also dispatches a mobile unit across the state
to inform and educate veterans on the services available to
Mobile unit program director Marcus Pickett, a veteran of the
U.S. Navy where he served for five years, says he understands
the need for processes in place to help veterans transition
back into civilian life. “When I’m out interacting with
veterans, I let them know that we all go through the same
things and they are not alone. Whatever it is you need, we are
here to help.”
Contact the Greensboro Vet Center, 3515 W. Market Street,
Suite 120, 336-333-5366 for more info on veterans services.