WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and Representatives Susie Lee (D-NV-3) and Michelle Steel (R-CA-45), introduced the Hire Student Veterans Act to incentivize employers to hire student veterans for part-time work and paid internships. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation would expand the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which is available to employers who hire individuals from groups that have faced significant barriers to employment, to include student veterans using their educational benefits. Currently, employers can only qualify by hiring veterans who have a service-connected disability or have been unemployed for more than four weeks. This change would ensure that all student veterans using their GI benefits can take advantage of valuable paid internships or work opportunities.
“The brave men and women who serve our nation have our unending respect and gratitude, and it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to help these heroes transition to civilian life,” said Senator Rosen. “I’ve talked to student veterans across Nevada about the challenges they face, and gaining experience through paid internships and work opportunities while in school was a top concern. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to incentivize businesses to hire student veterans and help them find career-track jobs after graduation.”
“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. “As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, one of my top priorities is ensuring veterans are supported in the workforce. This legislation makes 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.”
“Nevada’s veterans fought to keep our country safe, and as they transition back to civilian life, finding a good-paying, rewarding job shouldn’t be another battle,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Our state is home to nearly 6,000 student veterans, and it’s our duty to help them thrive, not just survive. This common-sense, bipartisan legislation meets that responsibility by building a fast-track for veterans to start new careers and embark on civilian life back home in Nevada.”
“It is vital that we support our nation’s heroes who have sacrificed so much as they move from active service to civilian life,” said Congresswoman Steel. “The Hire Student Veterans Act does just that by helping expand opportunities for veterans to have a smooth transition and gain professional experience that will be invaluable in their long term careers. I am grateful for bipartisan solutions such as these to serve those who have risked everything for our country.”
“As a retired Army soldier and Director of UNLV’s Military & Veteran Services Center, I have witnessed the many challenges of veterans transitioning from active service to campus to career,” said Ross Bryant, Executive Director of the UNLV Military & Veteran Services Center. “Helping these warriors transition successfully to their new career field also assists corporations in acquiring exceptional new employees who are team-oriented, values-driven, and possess leadership experience. I can think of no greater honor than to serve our veterans in their successful transition.”
“The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program has demonstrated the ability to increase qualified veterans’ wage income by nearly 40 percent,” said Joy Ilem, National Legislative Director of Disabled American Veterans. “This inclusion would help veterans participating in VA’s Veteran Readiness & Employment program to overcome serious employment barriers by providing meaningful career opportunities. DAV thanks Senator Rosen and Senator Moran for championing employment opportunities for all our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans.”
“VFW is happy to support this legislation, which would encourage hiring veterans who are diligently working to advance themselves through VA programs such as GI Bill and Veteran Readiness and Employment,” said Kristina Keenan, Deputy Legislative Director of Veterans of Foreign Wars. “Offering this expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit is an excellent complement to enhance the goal of upward mobility of these VA education programs.”
“After service, many veterans look to higher education for their next steps. For minority veterans, the socioeconomic realities of pursuing higher education often require holding additional jobs, securing fellowships, and scholarships just to make ends meet,” said Lindsay Church, Executive Director of Minority Veterans of America. “Minority Veterans of America endorses the Hire Student Veterans Act, which will expand access to life-changing opportunities, allowing student veterans to retain and ultimately complete their degrees. Our country owes a debt to those who have worn the uniform, one that can be paid through access to equitable opportunities to succeed.”
This bipartisan and bicameral legislation seeks to make three important changes to the WOTC that will incentivize businesses to hire more student veterans. The Hire Student Veterans Act will:
- Automatically qualify employers who hire student veterans using their GI Bill benefits for WOTC’s 40 percent 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 while in school; and
- Directly incentivize employers to hire more student veterans for part-time work and paid internships.
Senator Rosen has been a leader in the fight to support our nation’s veterans. Last month, Rosen helped introduce the bipartisan VA Home Loan Awareness Act to increase veterans’ awareness of the VA Home Loan Program, which is the primary tool for helping veterans and their spouses achieve the American dream of owning a home. In September, she announced that she secured nearly $1 million for the City of Reno Housing Authority to help homeless veterans and their families access housing. She also secured authorization for a new VA hospital in Reno and Nevada’s first-ever Veteran Business Outreach Center. Additionally, Senator Rosen is a cosponsor of the bipartisan GUARD VA Benefits Act to protect veterans from predatory practices when filing VA benefit claims.