Capitol Comments

New York Sen. Carl Marcellino understands the evolving conditions as business and industry work to fill vacant jobs with skilled employees.  “The workplace is changing rapidly, making it imperative that we develop innovative ways to educate and prepare our students for the demands of an increasingly diverse and global culture and economy,” said Marcellino, the 2015 national chairman of The Council of State Governments.

Unlike many college students, military veterans bring a set of skills and past training, but are less likely to persist to a degree and more likely to be unemployed. When postsecondary institutions offer college credit for prior learning in the military, most students complete college faster, attain a degree or credential and leave with less student debt.

Sharing a story about one of his constituents, West Virginia state Sen. John Unger told the audience at a recent CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education that a young mother told him, “I have three jobs and two children. I don’t need another job; I need a good job,” 

Steve Brophy, vice president of government affairs for Dollar General, developed a program in California to address unemployment among veterans and brought it to Tennessee when he made the move from the west coast.  While attempting to fill vacant positions, he discovered Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a national program supporting states' investment in employment opportunities for active duty military and veterans.  The Paychecks for Patriots program grew and launched in 2012 to offer an opportunity for veterans to attend local job fairs across Tennessee with a chance for on-the-spot hiring.

On July 22, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to assist those looking for employment access the education, training and support services needed to find family-sustaining jobs and to match skilled workers with business and industry. 

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