Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip), Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, announced passage of a resolution urging the New York State Congressional delegation to pass the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 (K.576). The Hiring Heroes Act is designed to assist veterans in finding work upon returning home from military service. The act is designed to lower the unemployment rate of 27 percent for veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The New York Veterans Advocacy Group, Inc. estimates that there are a possible 8,000 homeless veterans in Suffolk County.
“A resolution urging New York’s Congressional delegation to pass the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 is the least we can do for veterans who have put their lives in danger – and on hold – to protect us,” Ramos said. “It is important that veterans who have fought so hard for us know that their elected state representatives will fight for them.”
The act mandates for the first time broad job-skills training be required for every service member as they leave military service. These training sessions would be part of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), run by the Department of Defense. The TAP program currently offers job training and other training sessions to help military personnel return to civilian life. However, as many as one-third of departing service members do not take advantage of the TAP program due in part to a lack of time set aside by commanders and a general unawareness of the program. The Hiring Heroes Act would help solve some of these problems, Ramos said.
Additionally, the Hiring Heroes Act would allow service members to begin the federal employment process prior to discharge, thus providing a seamless transition from military service to employment within federal agencies.
“The Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 would allow for innovative partnerships with organizations that provide mentorship and training programs to help our nation’s most deserving citizens,” Ramos said. “We should be doing all we can to help these brave men and women transition to a quality life back at home.”
Ramos has sponsored Assembly bills aimed at helping veterans reenter the workforce after returning from service:
- A.7166 – Requires NYS Division of Veterans’ Affairs to provide the governor and Legislature with an annual accounting of veteran-owned small businesses; and
- A.7956 – Entitles certain veterans to 10 additional competitive civil service exam points if they are disabled and 5 points if they are non-disabled and received certain medals or ribbons.
Additionally, Ramos helped restore $3.2 million to the Long Island Veterans Home in this year’s state budget.
For more information or questions about this or other services provided to returning veterans, please contact the Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency at 631-853-VETS.