As Americans prepare to honor our veterans on November 12th for all they do to defend our nation, we must pledge to do more to help our military find good jobs upon returning home.
Far too often these heroes, who have chosen to risk their own lives to secure our freedom, come back to the harsh reality that there are no civilian jobs for them. They endure personal hardships that include being separated from families and friends and the reward for this selflessness cannot continue to be chronic unemployment.
There are approximately 185,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans still unemployed. And while many groups are working diligently to rectify this situation through training and jobs programs, these veterans are still seeing an unemployment rate 2 percent higher than the national average.
Unemployment is a concern for us all — veterans and non-veterans. And because many veterans go on to work in industries such as transportation, this situation is of particular concern to TTD and our 32 member unions. We strongly support programs designed to welcome home our veterans with good middle-class transportation jobs.
We believe one of the best ways we can honor these brave men and women is to ensure that when they return to America they have a strong economy and ample job opportunities. A good way to start is through training programs such as Helmets to Hardhats, a building and construction trade union program that connects National Guard, Reserve and active-duty military members with career training and employment opportunities. Properly investing in our transportation systems to sustain and create millions of new jobs in our sector is another way to ensure our veterans will have good jobs to come home to.
Our veterans deserve to know that while they are fighting for our freedom, someone at home is fighting to secure ample opportunity for them to live the American dream upon their return. It is time now to move on President Obama’s plans to expand our middle class, create millions of jobs and ‘nation build at home’ by modernizing and investing in our aging transportation system.
We join the rest of our grateful nation in saying thank you to our veterans.