If job creation is priority No. 1 for lawmakers this session, job placement for veterans seems to be priority 1-A, with new legislation aimed at getting servicemembers back to work.
The unemployment rate for younger veterans – those of the post 9/11 era – is considerably higher than the rate for average Hoosiers.
Lafayette Democratic Representative Sheila Klinker wants to help bring that number down. She says a bill she recently proposed would send Hoosier servicemembers and their spouses to the front of the line for the state Department of Workforce Development’s job programs.
“And of course that comes with skills; I mean, they can’t get a job for which they’re not trained,” Klinker said. “But we also would include vocational training as part of that too.”
Helping prepare veterans for jobs is part of Columbia City Republican Senator Jim Banks’ bill. He says it would allow any servicemember – even those who previously lived in a different state – to receive in-state tuition at Indiana public colleges and universities if they enroll within a year of leaving the military.
“Become a resident, receive a driver’s license, register to vote, all those residency requirements that others would have to earn after a year…because they’ve served our country, they should be eligible for that immediately,” Banks said.
Klinker’s bill already has Republican co-sponsors and both measures are expected to have broad support in the legislature.