Wednesday, August 17, 2011

President Obama Announces Additional Veteran Hiring Initiatives & Tax Credits

At an event at the Washington Navy Yard on August 5, President Obama announced proposed tax credits for hiring veterans, and recognized Siemens, among other companies, for their veteran hiring program. Additionally, he challenged more private companies to hire veterans. This comes at a time when The Veteran Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act of 2011 and Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 are pending in Congress.

According to a White House Fact Sheet, Obama’s proposed tax credits include the Returning Heroes credit and an extension of the Wounded Warriors tax credit. The Returning Heroes credit is proposed for 2012-2013 and gives companies up to a $2,400 tax credit for hiring veterans who have been unemployed for at least four weeks. If the veteran has been unemployed for six months or more, the tax credit increases up to $4,800. The two year extension of the Wounded Warriors tax credit would give companies that hire service disabled veterans up to a $4,800 tax credit, which increases to $9,600 if they have been unemployed for six months or more. Both credits require congressional approval.

While announcing these proposed tax credits, Obama also announced that the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs will lead a new task force to develop reforms to ensure that veterans receive essential training, education, and credentials needed to transition to the civilian workforce or to pursue higher education. These reforms include a “Reverse Boot Camp,” which will extend the transition period to give service members more guidance.

Obama urged private companies to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013. By way of example, Obama praised Siemens Corporation, who, at the launch of the White House’s Joining Forces initiative in April 2011, committed to reserve ten percent of its more than 3,000 open positions in their clean tech industries for veterans in a program called Siemens Initiative to Support Military Families. Siemens has since surpassed their goal, and it was announced at this event that they will expand their program by reserving an additional 150 positions for veterans.

According to a Siemens press release, this announcement means more than 450 veterans will have new jobs with Siemens by the end of the year. "The comprehensive technical training and experience gained in military service is extremely valuable in today's workplace," said Mike Panigel, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Siemens Corporation. "Veterans possess a unique skill set in technical areas that are a great match with many of our over 3,000 open positions."

Siemens has partnered with Orion International in support of Siemens Initiative to Support Military Families. The recruiting partnership fills a large volume of positions across all segments of Siemens Corporation within the United States. Orion has placed nearly 600 veterans into careers at Siemens and is the exclusive provider of military talent to Siemens in the United States. Jonah Westcott, a Naval Flight Officer, is one of those veterans. “After several months of another recruiting agency trying to place me in less than desirable positions for less money than I wanted and in locations I didn't want to live in, Orion placed me in a few weeks with Siemens for more money than I expected in a great location,” explains Westcott.

From the Battlefield to the Boardroom applauds the ongoing effort to provide more employment opportunities for veterans and applauds Siemens as they work toward their goal of hiring even more veterans.

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