There was recently a bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama that grants companies and businesses tax breaks for hiring military veterans. Under the program, companies could receive up to $5,600 per veteran under the Returning Heroes tax credit, or $9,600 for a veteran who qualifies as a “Wounded Warrior,” reports the Tennessean. Many believe this is a good place to start, but do not think it is truly going to help the cause.
Jan McKeel, executive director of the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance, is one person that thinks the tax breaks are a good start, but doesn’t think that tax breaks will really incite anybody to create jobs. “Making it easier for a veteran to find a job is the right thing to do,” she said in the Tennessean. “But while tax credits are great, I don’t think anybody’s going to create a job just for a tax break.” And in relation to some businesses, she’s right. Sabre Construction Co. of Nashville is a startup that will not be hiring anyone new until the economy picks up, tax breaks or not. “I’m a new entrepreneur trying to get my business going, and the economy hasn’t helped me in that regard,” said Mark D. Cashio, the firm’s president and chief executive, adding that he supports job benefits for veterans as a concept and will at least look at the tax incentives being offered. “It’s important to give veterans jobs, period.” He himself is a veteran as a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.
Ex-Marine Shawn Passwaters stated in the article that in past times, after a war there was always some sort of industry veterans could fall back on for a job when they returned. Today, though, that’s not really the case. “After every war, there was always some sort of industry,” he said. “Veterans came back and could work in the factories and the steel mills or build skyscrapers. Even after Vietnam, there was the car industry. Now, we don’t really build anything anymore.” This in combination with a weak job market has made it extra difficult for veterans to find work.
Only time will tell if the program Obama passed will truly help veterans find jobs when they return, but for many -veteran or not- it is still increasingly difficult to find a job.