Gallego passes a second veterans job-training amendment

By Congressman Pete Gallego —

The 23rd Congressional District is home to a large military population.
The local economy is dependent on a large military presence. In the
1800s, a string of forts (Fort Inge, Fort Duncan, Fort Clark, Fort
Lancaster, Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, Fort Quitman) guarded settlers and
commerce along the difficult road from San Antonio to El Paso.

Today,
many residents work as civilians or serve as active duty personnel at
Camp Bullis, Laughlin Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base, Brooke
Army Medical Center or Fort Bliss. Further, many more residents have
served their country honorably and well as members of the armed
services.

About 1.6 million Veterans call Texas home. 64,000 of these men and women reside in the 23rd congressional district.

My
position on the House Armed Services Committee has allowed me to serve
constituent well. With that role- I have been able to pass a second
amendment to helps veterans find employment by supporting job training
programs for these men and women. I attached this amendment to H.R.
2216, the 2014 Military Construction and Department of Veterans Affairs
appropriations bill which passed the House on a bipartisan voice vote.

My
amendment is for the brave men and women who have served our country.
It is simple and common-sense. It highlights job training for vets –
helping them to find employment. The amendment would support funding for
veterans to become employable and maintain their jobs to meet the
workforce needs of the 21st century.
Over the next four years, one
million veterans are expected to transition into the workforce from the
armed forces, which make this specific amendment vital to the lifeblood
of decreasing our unemployment rate for veterans once they return home.

These men and women have obtained tremendous skill-sets while serving
our country. Yet, many have difficulty finding employment after they’ve
completed their service.

Nearly 700,000 veterans are unemployed.
The jobless rate among our veterans is at 6.2 percent. Among veterans
who served after 9/11, that rate is 7.5 percent.

These men and
women have served this country- many have put their lives on the line.
It is our turn to serve them. Let’s make sure that Congress focuses on
training our veterans to meet the workforce needs of the 21st century.
We should make the transition from military service to the work-force as
seamless as possible.

And, my amendment didn’t present any
budgetary issues. The Congressional Budget Office confirmed that my
proposal doesn’t add to our deficit- as it does not have a net change in
funding levels.
I was able to persuade my colleagues to stand up for
veterans’ employment and support of my common-sense amendment. Let’s
work together to get veterans back to work. That’s something on which we
can all agree.