Column: Improving Hoosier veteran’s employment opportunities

By REP. LLOYD ARNOLD

My first session in the Indiana General Assembly is entering the final month. It has been great to see legislation pass through the General Assembly that will positively impact Hoosiers, especially bills promoting jobs and supporting our veterans. As a former member of our military, I am happy to see concern for the futures of my fellow brothers and sisters in uniform.
 
Indiana’s veteran unemployment rate is double the national average. This is something that must be addressed. One of the bills written with Hoosier veterans in mind was House Bill 1002, which will help veterans transition to civilian life through the creation of the Indiana Career Council. The bill received unanimous support from the House, and was carried by all four leaders of the General Assembly.
 
The ICC is designed to increase coordinated efforts between the state’s education, job skills development and career training systems. The council will work on ways to improve Indiana’s job skills training, in addition to keeping the Legislature updated throughout the year on different legislation to help promote high quality job opportunities.
 
Veterans have a seat at the table for their input and knowledge. The council will benefit from their perspective and guidance on how to bridge the divide from service to the private sector, expanding employment and training opportunities for current military service members and veterans.
 
Senate Bill 564 is a bill that will provide new opportunities for veterans who own small businesses. Under the legislation, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Indiana Department of Administration will work together for veterans.
 
They will help in compiling and maintaining a list of veteran-owned small businesses, assisting veteran-owned small businesses in the procedures for bidding on state contracts. SB 564 will also examine requests from IDOA for the purchase of resources or services to help veterans secure state contracts, and simplifying specifications and contract terms to increase opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses. SB 564 will not only benefit veteran owners, but typically veteran business owners hire other veterans, providing a large economic opportunity to help lower the unemployment rate for all Hoosier veterans.
 
House Bill 1486 has the potential to place veterans in high demand employment area, emergency medical technicians. The legislation will waive the application fee currently required by the Emergency Medical Services Commission if a veteran has already met the requirements. This access will give the state more opportunities to utilize skilled veterans, many of which are veterans of the medical field.
 
HB 1002, SB 564 and HB 1486 are just a few pieces of legislation authored to assist Indiana’s National Guard and Hoosier veterans. As a national leader in job growth Indiana must continue to innovate and create employment opportunities for Hoosier veterans.
 
Rep. Arnold, R-Leavenworth, represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties. Rep. Arnold serves as vice chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and also serves on the Education Committee, Roads and Transportation Committee as well as the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee.




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