WILKES-BARRE – U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey said Thursday he is proposing an online search tool to help combat high unemployment rates among recent veterans.
Speaking outside the Luzerne County Courthouse to a group of primarily older service members, Toomey, R-Pa., explained a bill he introduced that will help veterans search for jobs online.
“At the very least, we owe our veterans support as they transition to civilian life,” Toomey said.
Veterans who have served since Sept. 11, 2001, had a jobless rate of 12.1 percent in 2011 – 3 percent higher than nonveterans – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For male veterans ages 18 to 24, that figure was 29.1 percent, compared to 17.6 percent of nonveterans in the same group.
Toomey’s bill would create an online search tool that pairs veterans’ military skills with jobs posted in a database. The experimental program would be available at the Labor Department’s One-Stop Centers for a year.
Toomey said he introduced the bill when his brother-in-law struggled to find work after retiring from the Navy.
He said the bill has bi-partisan support and will likely pass, as long as it doesn’t get attached to any controversial legislation.
And when reporters asked if Pennsylvania, which has voted Democrat in the last five elections, was a lock for President Barack Obama, Toomey warned not to count out Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s chances.
“I think Mitt Romney will likely carry Pennsylvania,” he said.