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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"Hire-a-Vet can help rebuild economy"

ALBANY, Aug. 20 -- According to the federal Bureau of Labor, unemployment has reached a
staggering 20 percent for veterans under the age of 30 who have recently returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, statistics show that a significant number of recently returned veterans report service-connected disabilities.

It’s a tough economy all over, we know that. But the impact has been especially hard on veterans returning home during this recession to a weak private-sector economy. Simply put, it’s hard to find work. That’s particularly true for wounded veterans.

America’s servicemen and servicewomen make enormous sacrifices. That’s exactly why so many of us strongly support efforts underway in New York State – and nationally -- to recognize this service and, in particular, encourage economic opportunities and jobs for returning veterans.

For example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a new law that will assist returning servicemen and servicewomen in their job search by requiring the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to establish an employment portal on its website,, that will include links to appropriate federal and state programs that assist veterans in obtaining employment.

The governor said, "Military veterans are highly trained, often in specialized skills that are in great demand in the public and private sectors. It is essential that our returning service men and women have access to the many resources available on the state and federal level to help veterans find jobs in the civilian workforce."

Specifically the new DVA employment portal will provide information regarding resources that are available to assist veterans in finding jobs, including governmental programs on the federal and state levels and links to resources available through the federal and state labor departments. To ensure the portal successfully serves veterans, DVA will consult with members of the community devoted to helping veterans obtain employment.

It’s a continuation of efforts over the past two years to enhance New York’s commitment to ensuring that the valuable and specialized military experience our veterans offer is better recognized during their reentry into the civilian workforce. This commitment has included the “Experience Counts” campaign, which was launched last November to facilitate the transfer of military skills to the public and private sectors. Earlier this year the Cuomo administration announced that the state Department of Motor Vehicles will waive road tests for veterans applying for a commercial driver's license if they have military experience operating a similar vehicle.

Similar efforts are underway at the federal level.

We can and should do more. In a column published in the The Leader earlier this year Keith Nosbusch, chairman and CEO of the Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest industrial automation company, highlighted the opportunity facing America to train highly skilled returning veterans for the jobs needed to revitalize U.S. manufacturing.

Nosbuch wrote, “The shortage of skilled workers is one of the top challenges slowing industrial growth in the United States. Technical colleges won’t be able to keep up with the demand as an estimated 2.6 million people retire from the manufacturing sector over the next decade. It’s time for business and government to work together in a public-private partnership …to train veterans in the manufacturing jobs of the future.”

He goes on to promote a nationwide investment in a 26-week training program that would result in the employment of 20,000 veterans “to maintain the automation, machines and technology used in today’s highly productive ‘smart factories’” like Rockwell Automation. He believes the training of these 20,000 veterans would create at least 60,000 to 80,000 additional jobs in fields other than manufacturing as a result of the multiplier effect.

It’s a compelling idea.

Near the end of this year’s regular legislative session, I was proud to vote in favor of legislation, approved by the Senate with strong bipartisan support, to provide tax credits to state businesses that hire returning and wounded veterans. This legislation (Senate Bill Number 6024-C), which was not acted on by the Assembly leadership but that we’ll continue to fight for, proposed a $3,000 tax credit for businesses that hire a returning veteran, and a $4,000 tax credit for hiring a wounded veteran.

The Senate first advanced the idea of a “Hire-a-Vet” tax credit earlier this year as part of our comprehensive New Jobs-NY economic development program – a program that, looking ahead to the 2013 legislative session, will continue to form the foundation of our own commitment to rebuilding and revitalizing New York State’s manufacturing sector and economy as a whole.

Let the message be clear: we believe returning veterans have a place in this rebuilding.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869