WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee’s Subcommittee on Employment and a former member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced the bipartisan Hire Student Veterans Act (S. 537) with Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). The Hire Student Veterans Act would expand the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to ensure that all student veterans using their GI benefits can take advantage of valuable paid internships or work opportunities while in school. Over 200,000 veterans live in Nevada.
“After talking to countless veterans and military families across Nevada, I decided to introduce bipartisan legislation to incentivize businesses to hire our student vets who are currently using their GI benefits to study,” said Senator Rosen (D-NV). “I’ve met with organizations like Work for Warriors and UNLV Rebel Vets on how we can help veterans find good-paying jobs. I’m confident this commonsense legislation will put student vets on the pathway towards success and will continue working on bipartisan solutions to help our veterans transition back to civilian life.”
“It is critical that we provide those who have sacrificed for our nation with every opportunity to successfully transition to civilian life,” said Senator Moran (R-KS). “This legislation would make certain that veterans who are utilizing their GI Bill benefits have more flexibility to pursue paid internships and part-time employment to gain valuable work experience while in school. Expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for student veterans is a good step forward in growing opportunities for our veterans as they join the civilian workforce, and I will continue to advocate for measures that increase veterans’ success in all aspects of servicemember transition.”
“Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with veterans across Michigan to expand job opportunities for those who have served,” said Senator Stabenow (D-MI). “This legislation will create incentives for businesses in Michigan and across the country to hire student veterans for part-time work and paid internships.”
“It’s critically important that we promote educational opportunities for our veterans to ensure those who have served our nation have access to the experience they need to excel in the workforce,” said Senator Gardner (R-CO). “This bipartisan legislation removes barriers to part-time employment and incentivizes employers to hire student veterans. I’ll continue fighting for our brave military members to make sure they have the tools needed for a successful transition to civilian life.”
“America’s veterans have bravely served our nation and we have a shared responsibility to help them transition to a good paying job after completing their military service,” said Senator Baldwin (D-WI). “This bipartisan legislation will expand opportunities for veterans working to finish their education and pursue new careers. It will also provide incentives for businesses to hire more student veterans so they can put their education and skills to work in a new job.”
“This bipartisan legislation ensures all student veterans using GI benefits- like the 2,000 student veterans in North Dakota colleges and universities- can take advantage of paid internships or work opportunities while in school,” said Senator Cramer (R-ND).
“We applaud efforts to provide our student veterans with opportunities to find gainful and meaningful employment to advance their careers,” said Lauren Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs with Student Veterans of America. “By encouraging businesses to hire student veterans for paid internship opportunities, this legislation will help prepare the student veteran population for success.”
BACKGROUND: Last Congress, Rosen introduced the same legislation in the House (H.R. 6392), alongside former Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who introduced the bipartisan Senate companion bill (S. 3563). Rosen first filed the bipartisan legislation last year after speaking directly to Nevada veterans and community leaders about the challenges veterans face during a roundtable discussion. Currently, the WOTC is limited in its application to hiring veterans. Employers can only qualify for the credit by hiring veterans who have a service-connected disability or have been unemployed for more than four weeks. There is also a stringent 400-hour per year work requirement. As the law stands, the WOTC does not incentivize employers to hire student vets part-time during the school year or for a summer job and does not reflect the reality of today’s job environment in which new college graduates often need work experience in order to obtain even an entry-level career-track job. Rosen’s bill seeks to make three important changes to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit that will incentivize businesses to hire more student veterans, ultimately helping to move their careers forward. The Hire Student Veterans Act will:
• Automatically qualify employers who hire student veterans using their GI Bill benefits for WOTC’s 40% tax credit on the first $6,000 of a new employee’s first-year wages.
• Reduce the existing tax credit’s 400-hour work requirement to 120 hours if a newly-hired employee is a veteran using their GI Bill benefits, allowing a student veteran to work part-time, including in a paid internship during the summer or semester; and
• Directly incentivize employers to hire more student veterans for part-time work and paid internships.