February 27, 2012

Senator Menendez, GI Go Fund Encourage Businesses to Hire Vets

Promoting VOW to Hire Heroes Act, Upcoming Newark Veterans Job and GI Bill Fair

Senator Robert Menendez promotes VOW to Hire Heroes Act and importance to hire veterans at Military Park in Newark, NJ. Behind him (from left to right): GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous, Iraq War Veteran Sean Cavanaugh, Col. Steve Abel, and members of the Rutgers Student Veterans Organization.

NEWARK, NJ – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez today joined Executive Director of the G.I. Go Fund, Jack Fanous; Col. Stephen Abel, Director of Veterans Services for Rutgers University, Sean Cavanaugh, an Iraq War Veteran hired by Johnson & Johnson, and Enrique Peralta, an Iraq war veteran, Secretary and Treasurer of the Rutgers Student Veterans organization at a press conference an Military Park in Newark, NJ to encourage businesses and non-profit groups to take advantage of the recently passed Vow to Hire Heroes Act – sponsored by Senator Menendez – which provides a federal tax credit of as much as $9,600 to companies that hire a veteran.

“I am so pleased to stand here today with a few of America’s finest young people,” said Senator Menendez. “They have already proved their courage, valor, patriotism, and strength in the war. Now, they should be given the opportunity to prove what they can contribute to the job market. I introduced the Vow to Hire Heroes Act because I believe it is our responsibility as a nation to help those men and women who helped us. They made us proud with their accomplishments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we must do everything we can to ensure they succeed in the next phase of their lives.”

The press conference also promoted the upcoming GI Go Veterans Job and GI Bill Fair, which will be held on March 13th at the Paul Robeson Center at Rutgers Newark.

“As our economy looks to rebound in 2012, we can look back and remember that as our veterans have prospered throughout tough times so too has our country,” said GI Go Executive Director Jack Fanous. “Veterans are the embodiment of what is great about America, and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act will show employers large and small, what is still great about the American employee. I call on all Americans to welcome our veterans home after a grueling decade of war and make 2012 the year of the veteran.

Iraq War Veteran Sean Cavanaugh discusses how his life has benefited since attending GI Go's Job and GI Bill Fair last year, where he met his new employer Johnson & Johnson.

The GI Go fund announced that more than 50 New Jersey employers have signed up for their job fair on March 13 at Rutgers University. They encourage more participation from the NJ business community to take advantage of the tax credit as well as to hire veterans. Sponsored by the Newark Regional Business Partnership and the Rutgers Student Veterans Organization, as well as universities and media outlets, the job fair will allow veterans to interact with potential employers eager to hire hard-working veterans

“After the bullets stop flying and the din of battle has faded, many veterans decide to complete their honorable service to the United States and enter the civilian workforce as experienced and seasoned professionals, only to encounter a new type of harsh reality: one of high unemployment and difficult transitions,” said Sean Cavanaugh, of Johnson & Johnson. “Luckily I attended last year’s GI Go Fund’s Veterans Job and GI Bill Fair at Rutgers-Newark, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made after securing a career with a great company, Johnson & Johnson.”

Rutgers Student Veteran President Enrique Peralta, who attended the press conference and will be attending the career fair, is actively seeking a job. Other Rutgers students who are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were also present at the press conference.

Senator Robert Menendez introduced The “VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011” on November 9, 2011. The legislation passed the Senate on November 10, 2011 in a unanimous 95-0 vote.

Col. Steven Abel, Director of Veterans Services for Rutgers, highlights how the tax credit and the upcoming Job Fair will benefit graduating vets

The GI Go Veterans Job and GI Bill Fair will be held on March 13th from 10am-2pm at the Paul Robeson Center at Rutgers Newark, 350 MLK Blvd., Newark, NJ 07102. Veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, and all conflicts are strongly encouraged to come and take part in the premier veterans' Job Fair of the 2012.

Components of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011

• Unemployed Veterans Tax Credits: New tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months.

• Increased Wounded Warriors Tax Credit: Doubles the existing tax credit up to $9,600 (from $4,800) for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.

• Expanding Education & Training: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act provides 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits to qualify for jobs in high-demand sectors, from trucking to technology. It also provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.

• Facilitating Seamless Transition: This bill would allow service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, Homeland Security, or the many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.

• Improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP): The VOW to Hire Heroes Act will make TAP mandatory for most service members transitioning to civilian status, upgrade career counseling options, and resume writing skills, as well as ensuring the program is tailored for the 21st Century job market.

• Translating Military Skills and Training: This bill will also require the Department of Labor to take a hard look at what military skills and training should be translatable into the civilian sector, and will work to make it easier to get the licenses and certification our veterans need.