(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the announcement by U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis that the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs will receive $500,000 to help Washington state veterans get the skills and training they need to find jobs. The grant, which will help veterans succeed in civilian careers, is being awarded under the U.S. Departments of Labor’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.  

“The brave veterans who have served us in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning home to a particularly difficult job market and they deserve our strong support to help them get back on the job,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I have heard from veterans across the state that too many employers just don’t understand how the technical and leadership skills they learned in the military translate into skills that can help private-sector companies. So I am glad that these job training investments will help Washington state veterans gain the private-sector skills they need to secure jobs and contribute to our state’s economic recovery.”

“Our veterans have already sacrificed so much during their military careers,” said Senator Maria Cantwell.  “As they transfer to the civilian workforce, we must help them succeed in this new chapter in their lives.  Our job is to ensure they have the necessary skills to thrive in the 21st century economy. There is no doubt about the work ethic of our veterans – employers are lucky to employ such dedicated Americans.”

In April, Senator Murray introduced the Veterans Employment Act of 2010. This bill, which Cantwell co-sponsored, is the first legislation that takes a comprehensive approach to addressing skyrocketing veterans unemployment rates. The bill includes a series of proposals that improve training, skills transition, education, and small business assistance programs.