Citing an unemployment rate between three and four percentage points higher than the national average for returning veterans, two Michigan lawmakers are rolling out a plan to put former service members to work.
“Coming home, you’re trying to get back on your feet. The major issue is seeing how your job experience translates into the civilian workforce,” said veteran Mike Tuffelmire, who served multiple tours of duty.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 30,000 vets are unemployed in Michigan. Even though Michigan has a large population of veterans, the unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Some in the legislature want to do something to make the transition home easier.
“That transition is a lot harder than most realize. Not just physiologically and emotionally, but financially as well,” Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-Lansing, said.
If passed, the Hire MI Heroes Act would provide a one-time $4,000 tax credit for hiring an unemployed vet. Its goal is to encourage companies to give veterans a chance to re-enter the work force.
“Given that choice than an employer may have between hiring a veteran and somebody who doesn’t have that military experience and they might have pretty comparable resumes, that tax credit might be the thing that pushes them over the top to give our veterans a chance,” Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, said.
The bill already has 18 sponsors and cosponsors in the Senate — just one shy of enough to pass the legislation — and it hasn’t yet been formally introduced.
Legislators have made several efforts to help returning vets, organizing job fairs and making military experience transferable for certain state licenses.