U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the Senate passage of the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing (HIRE) Veterans Act. The measure establishes a tiered recognition program within the Department of Labor to award employers based on their contributions to veteran employment.

“I applaud the quick passage of the HIRE Veterans Act, an important piece of legislation that recognizes employers who hire our veterans,” Manchin said in a press release. “Over the past couple of years, many American businesses both small and large have joined the effort to hire veterans and are now doing their part in the fight to reduce our veterans’ unemployment rate.

"This is tremendous news, but while many employers claim to be veteran-friendly, there is no nationally recognized standard for employers to aspire to, or for future veteran employees to seek out. This bill will change that, and it is one more step we can take toward making it easier for our service men and women to find opportunities for good-paying jobs.”

"We have seen from firsthand experience that supporting military veterans and helping their transition to successful civilian careers pays benefits not only for the veterans but also for the companies that hire them because of their valuable skills and experience," said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Resources. "We applaud Sen. Manchin for his leadership on this important legislation and Congress for its unanimous approval."

“American Electric Power has benefitted greatly from our commitment to recruit and support military veterans. Nearly 11 percent our 17,600 employees served in the military, and the technical training, experience and discipline they developed while serving our country has made them a great fit for successful careers at AEP. We applaud this effort to encourage more companies to recruit and hire military veterans,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"At PG&E, we forged a training partnership with community colleges and local workforce development agencies called PowerPathway that has graduated nearly 500 veterans, 77 percent of whom have gone on to good jobs in the energy industry," said Geisha Williams, PG&E Corporation president and chief executive officer. "H.R. 244 will recognize employers for their efforts to hire veterans and it provides a positive incentive for other employers to consider veteran hiring."

“EEI congratulates Senator Manchin for spearheading the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing (HIRE) Veterans Act, which builds upon a strong foundation already in place at electric companies," said Edison Electric Institute president Tom Kuhn. "Our military veterans' capabilities and skills match those required for the technical, engineering, leadership, and support positions we need throughout the energy industry. This is why we have a long history of employing military veterans, and, since 2010, our Troops to Energy Jobs program has worked to make it easier for veterans to translate their skills and training into rewarding energy careers.”

Five years ago, Manchin formed the bipartisan Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, which has worked to reduce the veterans unemployment rate.

He introduced the HIRE Veterans Act in February with Roy Blunt (R-MO), which would recognize qualified employers for meeting certain criteria designed to encourage veteran-friendly businesses, including: what percentage of new hires, or the overall workforce, is made up of veterans; what types of training and leadership development opportunities are made available; what other benefits and resources are offered, such as tuition assistance; and other factors that demonstrate a commitment to supporting veterans throughout their post-military careers. The recognition would come in the form of a medallion certificate, awarded at the platinum and gold levels. Manchin and Blunt introduced similar legislation in the previous congress.

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