WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, today held a JEC hearing on building job opportunities for veterans. The hearing explored current employment trends for U.S. veterans and strategies for helping more returning service members find good jobs in the private sector workforce.
“More and more companies are realizing that veterans have valuable, battle-tested skills that can be transitioned into civilian jobs,” said Klobuchar. “I’m encouraged by what we’re seeing at businesses like Xcel Energy, and I will continue to work to help ensure the men and women who served our country can find good jobs when they get home.”
Klobuchar invited Benjamin G.S. Fowke III, CEO of Xcel Energy, to testify about his company’s successful efforts to hire veterans and ways to encourage more private sector businesses to train and recruit returning service members. Fowke estimates that 12 percent of Xcel’s roughly 11,000 employees are veterans.
Klobuchar has long championed policies to help veterans successfully transition the skills they learned on the battlefield into good-paying civilian jobs. She co-authored legislation, passed into law last year, to streamline the process for receiving a commercial driver’s license, as well as introduced the Veterans to Paramedics Act, legislation making it easier for veterans who trained as paramedics in the military to earn credentials as emergency medical technicians.
Klobuchar introduced the bipartisan Post-9/11 Veterans Job Training Act to allow veterans to use their GI Bill benefits for job training and apprenticeship programs, provisions that went into effect in 2011. Also in 2011, Klobuchar helped pass the VOW to Hire Heroes Act into law, legislation promoting the hiring of unemployed veterans by requiring separating service members to participate in career training programs and providing a tax credit to employers who bring unemployed veterans into their workforce.