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[r29] Column: Expanding opportunities for veterans
Start Date: 4/17/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/17/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Expanding opportunities for veterans

Monday was important for two big reasons: House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1002, which establishes the Indiana Career Council (ICC), was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence, and the third reading deadline to vote on legislation passed. The ICC will play an integral role in keeping Indiana on the right track and working to provide the education and workforce development needed for Hoosiers to fill and create jobs. Military organizations will have a seat at the table for the council’s discussions and be key to getting veterans the skills needed to find work after serving our country. This bill was a top priority for the House and received unprecedented bipartisan support from both parties in each chamber. 

The third reading deadline signals the end of new bill discussions for the General Assembly. If a bill didn’t clear the legislative hurdles to pass both chambers by Monday then the bill has died for this session. Conference committees, which is where House and Senate leaders meet to discuss discrepancies between bills as amended in either chamber, and working on the budget will make up the remainder of session.

In addition to HEA 1002, there are a couple of bills that pertain to veterans that I want to highlight: Senate Bill (SB) 564 and House Bill (HB) 1486.

Supporting Hoosier servicemen and women is always a point of pride for the Legislature. These dedicated and selfless individuals have given so much to protect the freedoms we cherish, and they deserve recognition for their efforts. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy for a veteran to find work following their service. 

Indiana’s post 9-11 veteran unemployment rate is higher than the state’s average at 20 percent, double the nation’s average. This is simply unacceptable. The Legislature has taken some steps to remedy this, but more can be done. We are working on innovative solutions that will help veterans use their skills and training and apply it to the workforce. We want to streamline the process for veterans to be certified and accredited as a means to finding employment. They should be able to test out of courses that teach the training they have received from the military. Honestly, it’s common sense for this to be the case as we work to ensure veterans are a valued part of the Hoosier economy moving forward. 

Senate Bill (SB) 564 will provide new opportunities for veterans who own small businesses. In this legislation, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and the Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA) will work together for veterans.

They will help compile and maintain a list of veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and assist VOSBs 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 simplify specifications and contract terms to increase opportunities for VOSBs. 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.

Another piece of legislation affecting veterans is HB 1486, which has the potential to place veterans in high demand employment areas such as emergency medicine. 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.

HEA 1002, SB 564 and HB 1486 are just a few pieces of legislation authored to assist Indiana’s National Guard, one of the largest in the country, and Hoosier veterans. As a national leader in job growth, Indiana must continue to innovate and create employment opportunities for Hoosier veterans as a way to strengthen our economy.

-30-

My column also appears in the Times of Noblesville.
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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