News Releases

JBLM: DOL Awards $5.5 Million for Transitioning Servicemembers at JBLM

Dec 17 2013

Approximately 900 JBLM servicemembers will be aided by grant established under Murray’s veterans jobs legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor of a $5,586,385 National Emergency Grant (NEG) to assist approximately 900 transitioning military personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). The grant, awarded under Senator Murray’s “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” (VOW), will be awarded to the Pacific Mountain Workforce Consortium and operated by the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council. Of the total award, $2,888,266 will initially be released with further funding up to the approved amount being made available as Washington state demonstrates a need for ongoing assistance. 

“Today’s news serves as a shining example of what happens when we establish strong partnerships between the public and private sector in order to support our nation’s heroes,” said Senator Murray.  “For too long we’ve been patting our veterans on the back to thank them for their service and sending them out into the job market alone without the basic help they need. I’m grateful for the work being done by JBLM and the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council to implement the VOW to Hire Heroes Act and provide our men and women in uniform with the tools and resources necessary to not only make it in the workforce, but to succeed.”

The grant will support separating servicemembers from one year before and up to six months after transitioning from service. With the four current tracks available at JBLM for transitioning servicemembers, the grant will primarily serve those who want to transition directly to employment.

Approximately 300,000 active duty servicemembers and more than 100,000 National Guardsmen and reservists transition back into to civilian life each year. About 13,000 of those men and women plan to re-enter civilian life in Washington state and over 50% of those 13,000 transition through JBLM.

The “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” was signed into law by President Obama in 2011. Double-digit unemployment rates for veterans used to be the norm – but since VOW became law, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is on par with non-veterans. And while recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics prove that these programs work, VOW aims to continue lowering the rate of unemployment among our nation’s heroes by:     

  • Improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP): The VOW to Hire Heroes Act makes TAP mandatory for most separating servicemembers, upgrades the program’s career and employment counseling services, and tailors TAP for the 21st Century job market.
  • Facilitating Seamless Transition:  This law allows servicemembers to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, Homeland Security, and many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.
  • Expanding Education & Training: VOW provides nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans of earlier eras with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits to qualify for jobs in high-demand sectors ranging from trucking to technology.  VOW also provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.
  • Translating Military Skills and Training:  This law also requires the Department of Labor to take a hard look at how the skills and experiences veterans gain through service can be better translated into a civilian context and to make it easier for qualified veterans to obtain the licenses and certifications they need to launch a range of well-paying, productive civilian careers.  
  • Veterans Tax Credits:  The VOW to Hire Heroes Act provides tax incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans, and up to $9,600 for hiring disabled veterans, if the veteran has been looking for work for six months or longer.