WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) helped pass legislation today that will improve access to job training for veterans and help veterans market and use the skills they acquired in the military for jobs in the private sector. The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (H.R. 2433) both provides training for veterans entering the civilian workforce and helps them transition into new jobs.

“Our men and women in uniform give so much for this country and ask for so little in return,” said Himes. “This assistance will go a long way toward ensuring a smooth transition for service members returning from active duty and help them prepare for and find jobs once they’re home.”

Work Training: The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act provides funding for one year of training in certificate programs and associates’ degrees that prepare veterans for jobs in high-demand occupations. Benefits are similar to those provided by the G.I. Bill.

Housing: This legislation extends programs within the Department of Housing and Urban Development that help veterans acquire affordable mortgages.

Credentialing: During their service, most veterans develop a bevy of specialized skills that would be marketable in the private sector, but use of those skills often requires certification. This legislation expands existing veteran licensure programs to include credentialing in civilian industries with a high demand for workers.

Placement: To assist veterans in making the most of their experience serving in the military and to help them transition into the civilian workforce, this bill expands the Veterans Administration’s existing transition programs to include assistance finding training and employment opportunities.

Over the past several years, The WorkPlace in Bridgeport has implemented a number of important programs that help Veterans address barriers to employment and find the support they need to reintegrate into the labor force. The WorkPlace’s leadership commended the bill.

“This legislation incorporates elements that are essential for an effective veterans transition assistance program,” said Joseph M. Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace. “We applaud Congressman Himes for his efforts in support of veterans and their families.”

Over 15 percent of all veterans in Connecticut are unemployed, more than 5 points higher than the unemployment rate for the general workforce. The state is home to over 220,000 veterans.