VOW Act of 2011

Getting Veterans Back to Work with the Vow Act of 2011

If you are an unemployed military veteran aged 35–60, you may be eligible for a career training program to help transition from a military job to the civilian workforce. Enacted in 2011 by the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (VOW) helps alleviate roadblocks veterans may encounter seeking gainful employment after they leave the military.

VOW expands education and training opportunities and also provides tax credits to employers to encourage the hire of veterans with service–related disabilities. The legislation includes five core components related to improving veteran’s job search prospects.

  1. The Transition Assistant Program (TAP) which provides service members about to be discharged with job seeking skills – this is a mandatory participatory requirement.
  2. Education & Training, which will enable 100,000 unemployed veterans access to up to 1–year of Montgomery GI Bill benefits, as well as funding at the state–level to provide training services.
  3. Strengthening of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which outlines laws governing the re–employment of those in the National Guard and Reserve upon their return.
  4. Access to licensing & certification as it relates to obtaining employment.

Along with the education and training assistance VOW provides, the legislations offers multiple incentives for employers recruiting from the veteran community. This includes tax credit opportunities to incentivize employers to look at the veteran community as part of their diversity initiatives.

For more information on the VOW Act of 2011, visit here.

The Unemployment Situation for Veterans

There continues to be mixed news on the unemployment front for military veterans. On one front the employment rate for veterans is lower than the national average (in August 2012 unemployment for veterans was at 6.9% compared to the national average of 8.1%); however, if you look at differing sectors of the veteran community the rates increase.

Unemployment for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (or Gulf II veterans) is higher than the national average, and those serving in the National Guard and Reserve face unemployment issues relating to being called up for duty.

While new legislation is helping to reduce unemployment vis–a–vis training and tax incentives to businesses, one of the biggest challenges for veterans looking to find work is how to translate their military experience into civilian employment. And veterans with disabilities face additional challenges.

Participating in GI Bill benefits, such as VOW, can help improve job prospects for the veteran community, granting access to training they may need to acquire the skills needed to gain employment in the private sector.

If you are a veteran currently looking for employment, visit our Veteran's Job Exchange to find job openings in your areas. You can also access resources such as resume builders and career advice to help you find a job.

Download the VOW Factsheet