S. 951 (112th): Hiring Heroes Act of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of May 11, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 951

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 11, 2011

(for herself, Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Akaka, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Begich, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Brown of Ohio, Mr. Casey, Mr. Coons, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Tester, Mr. Leahy, and Mr. Brown of Massachusetts) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

A BILL

To improve the provision of Federal transition, rehabilitation, vocational, and unemployment benefits to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011.

2.

Two-year extension of authority of Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members of the Armed Forces with severe injuries or illnesses

Section 1631(b)(2) of the Wounded Warrior Act (title XVI of Public Law 110–181; 10 U.S.C. 1071 note) is amended by striking December 31, 2012 and inserting December 31, 2014.

3.

Expansion of authority of Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pay employers for providing on-job training to veterans who have not been rehabilitated to point of employability

Section 3116(b)(1) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking who have been rehabilitated to the point of employability.

4.

Training and rehabilitation for veterans with service-connected disabilities who have exhausted rights to unemployment benefits under State law

(a)

Entitlement to additional rehabilitation programs

(1)

In general

Section 3102 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(A)

in the matter before paragraph (1), by striking A person and inserting the following:

(a)

In general

A person

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(b)

Additional rehabilitation programs for persons who have exhausted rights to unemployment benefits under State law

(1)

A person who has completed a rehabilitation program under this chapter shall be entitled to an additional rehabilitation program under the terms and conditions of this chapter if—

(A)

the person is described by paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a); and

(B)

the person—

(i)

has exhausted all rights to regular compensation under the State law or under Federal law with respect to a benefit year;

(ii)

has no rights to regular compensation with respect to a week under such State or Federal law; and

(iii)

is not receiving compensation with respect to such week under the unemployment compensation law of Canada; and

(C)

begins such additional rehabilitation program within six months of the date of such exhaustion.

(2)

For purposes of paragraph (1)(B)(i), a person shall be considered to have exhausted such person's rights to regular compensation under a State law when—

(A)

no payments of regular compensation can be made under such law because such person has received all regular compensation available to such person based on employment or wages during such person's base period; or

(B)

such person's rights to such compensation have been terminated by reason of the expiration of the benefit year with respect to which such rights existed.

(3)

In this subsection, the terms compensation, regular compensation, benefit year, State, State law, and week have the respective meanings given such terms under section 205 of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 (26 U.S.C. 3304 note).

.

(2)

Duration of additional rehabilitation program

Section 3105(b) of such title is amended—

(A)

by striking Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, and inserting (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) and in subsection (c),; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(2)

The period of a vocational rehabilitation program pursued by a veteran under section 3102(b) of this title following a determination of the current reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal may not exceed 24 months.

.

(b)

Extension of period of eligibility

Section 3103 of such title is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by striking in subsection (b), (c), or (d) and inserting in subsection (b), (c), (d), or (e);

(2)

by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (f); and

(3)

by inserting after subsection (d) the following new subsection (e):

(e)
(1)

The limitation in subsection (a) shall not apply to a rehabilitation program described in paragraph (2).

(2)

A rehabilitation program described in this paragraph is a rehabilitation program pursued by a veteran under section 3102(b) of this title.

.

(c)

Exception to limitation on receipt of assistance under chapter 31 and one or more programs

Section 3695(b) of such title is amended—

(1)

by striking No person and inserting Except as provided in paragraph (2), no person; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(2)

Paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to a rehabilitation program described in section 3103(e)(2) of this title.

.

5.

Assessment and follow-up on veterans who participate in Department of Veterans Affairs training and rehabilitation for veterans with service-connected disabilities

(a)

In general

Section 3106 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(g)

For each rehabilitation program pursued by a veteran under this chapter, the Secretary shall contact such veteran not later than 180 days after the date on which such veteran completes such rehabilitation program or terminates participation in such rehabilitation program and not less frequently than once every 180 days thereafter for a period of one year to ascertain the employment status of the veteran and assess such rehabilitation program.

; and

(2)

in the section heading, by adding ; program assessment and follow-up at the end.

(b)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 31 of such title is amended by striking the item relating to section 3106 and inserting the following new item:

3106. Initial and extended evaluations; determinations regarding serious employment handicap; program assessment and follow-up.

.

6.

Mandatory participation of members of the Armed Forces in the transitional assistance program of the Department of Defense

(a)

In general

Section 1144(c) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by striking shall encourage and all that follows and inserting shall require the participation in the program carried out under this section of the members eligible for assistance under the program..

(b)

Required use of employment assistance, job training assistance, and other transitional services in preseparation counseling

Section 1142(a)(2) of such title is amended by striking may and inserting shall.

7.

Follow-up on employment status of members of Armed Forces who recently participated in Transitional Assistance Program of Department of Defense

For each individual who participates in the Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) of the Department of Defense, the Secretary of Labor shall contact such individual not later than 180 days after the date on which such individual completes such program and not less frequently than once every 90 days thereafter for a period of 180 days to ascertain the employment status of such individual.

8.

Collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program

(a)

In general

Chapter 41 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 4104 the following new section:

4104A.

Collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program

(a)

Grants

The Secretary shall award grants to eligible nonprofit organizations to provide training and mentoring for eligible veterans who seek employment. The Secretary shall award the grants to not more than 3 organizations, for periods of 2 years.

(b)

Collaboration and facilitation

The Secretary shall ensure that the recipients of the grants—

(1)

collaborate with—

(A)

the appropriate disabled veterans' outreach specialists (in carrying out the functions described in section 4103A(a)) and the appropriate local veterans' employment representatives (in carrying out the functions described in section 4104); and

(B)

the appropriate State boards and local boards (as such terms are defined in section 101 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2801)) for the areas to be served by recipients of the grants; and

(2)

based on the collaboration, facilitate the placement of the veterans that complete the training in meaningful employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency.

(c)

Application

To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, a nonprofit organization shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require. At a minimum, the information shall include—

(1)

information describing how the organization will—

(A)

collaborate with disabled veterans' outreach specialists and local veterans' employment representatives and the appropriate State boards and local boards (as such terms are defined in section 101 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2801));

(B)

based on the collaboration, provide training that facilitates the placement described in subsection (b)(2); and

(C)

make available, for each veteran receiving the training, a mentor to provide career advice to the veteran and assist the veteran in preparing a resume and developing job interviewing skills; and

(2)

an assurance that the organization will provide the information necessary for the Secretary to prepare the reports described in subsection (d).

(d)

Reports

(1)

Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, the Secretary shall prepare and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that describes the process for awarding grants under this section, the recipients of the grants, and the collaboration described in subsections (b) and (c).

(2)

Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, the Secretary shall—

(A)

conduct an assessment of the performance of the grant recipients, disabled veterans' outreach specialists, and local veterans' employment representatives in carrying out activities under this section, which assessment shall include collecting information on the number of—

(i)

veterans who applied for training under this section;

(ii)

veterans who entered the training;

(iii)

veterans who completed the training;

(iv)

veterans who were placed in meaningful employment under this section; and

(v)

veterans who remained in such employment as of the date of the assessment; and

(B)

submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that includes—

(i)

a description of how the grant recipients used the funds made available under this section;

(ii)

the results of the assessment conducted under subparagraph (A); and

(iii)

the recommendations of the Secretary as to whether amounts should be appropriated to carry out this section for fiscal years after 2013.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $4,500,000 for the period consisting of fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

(f)

Definitions

In this section—

(1)

the term appropriate committees of Congress means the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives; and

(2)

the term nonprofit organization means an organization that is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of such Code.

(b)

Conforming amendment

Section 4103A of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by inserting and facilitate placements after intensive services; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

In facilitating placement of a veteran under this program, a disabled veterans' outreach program specialist shall help to identify job opportunities that are appropriate for the veteran's employment goals and assist that veteran in developing a cover letter and resume that are targeted for those particular jobs.

.

(c)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 41 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 4104 the following new item:

4104A. Collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program.

.

9.

Individualized assessment for members of the Armed Forces under transition assistance on equivalence between skills developed in military occupational specialities and qualifications required for civilian employment with the private sector

(a)

Study on equivalence required

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Labor shall jointly enter into a contract with a qualified organization or entity jointly selected by the Secretaries, to conduct a study to identify any equivalences between the skills developed by members of the Armed Forces through various military occupational specialties (MOS) and the qualifications required for various positions of civilian employment in the private sector.

(2)

Cooperation of Federal agencies

The departments and agencies of the Federal Government, including the Office of Personnel Management, the General Services Administration, the Government Accountability Office, and other appropriate departments and agencies, shall cooperate with the contractor under paragraph (1) to conduct the study required under that paragraph.

(3)

Report

Upon completion of the study conducted under paragraph (1), the contractor under that paragraph shall submit to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Labor a report setting forth the results of the study. The report shall include such information as the Secretaries shall specify in the contract under paragraph (1) for purposes of this section.

(4)

Transmittal to Congress

The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Labor shall jointly transmit to Congress the report submitted under paragraph (3), together with such comments on the report as the Secretaries jointly consider appropriate.

(b)

Individualized assessment of civilian positions available through MOS skills

The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that each member of the Armed Forces who is participating in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) of the Department of Defense receives, as part of such member's participation in that program, an individualized assessment of the various positions of civilian employment in the private sector for which such member may be qualified as a result of the skills developed by such member through such member's military occupational specialty. The assessment shall be performed using the results of the study conducted under subsection (a) and such other information as the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Labor, considers appropriate for that purpose.

(c)

Further use in employment-Related transition assistance

(1)

Transmittal of assessment

The Secretary of Defense shall transmit the individualized assessment provided a member under subsection (a) to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Labor.

(2)

Use in assistance

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Labor may use an individualized assessment with respect to an individual under paragraph (1) for employment-related assistance in the transition from military service to civilian life provided the individual by such Secretary and to otherwise facilitate and enhance the transition of the individual from military service to civilian life.

10.

Appointment of honorably discharged members and other employment assistance

(a)

Appointment of honorably discharged members of the uniformed services to civil service positions

(1)

In general

Chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 3330c the following:

3330d.

Honorably discharged members of the uniformed services

The head of an executive agency may appoint a member of the uniformed services who is honorably discharged to a position in the civil service without regard to sections 3301 through 3330c during the 180-day period beginning on the date that the individual is honorably discharged, if that individual is otherwise qualified for the position.

.

(2)

Technical and conforming amendment

The table of sections for chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding after the item relating to section 3330c the following:

3330d. Honorably discharged members of the uniformed services.

.

(b)

Employment assistance: other Federal agencies

(1)

Definitions

In this subsection—

(A)

the term agency has the meaning given the term Executive agency in section 105 of title 5, United States Code; and

(B)

the term veteran has the meaning given that term in section 101 of title 38, United States Code.

(2)

Responsibilities of Office of Personnel Management

The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall—

(A)

designate agencies that shall establish a program to provide employment assistance to members of the armed forces who are being separated from active duty in accordance with paragraph (3); and

(B)

ensure that the programs established under this subsection are coordinated with the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) of the Department of Defense.

(3)

Elements of program

The head of each agency designated under paragraph (2)(A), in consultation with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and acting through the Veterans Employment Program Office of the agency established under Executive Order 13518 (74 Fed. Reg. 58533; relating to employment of veterans in the Federal Government), or any successor thereto, shall—

(A)

establish a program to provide employment assistance to members of the Armed Forces who are being separated from active duty, including assisting such members in seeking employment with the agency;

(B)

provide such members with information regarding the program of the agency established under subparagraph (A); and

(C)

promote the recruiting, hiring, training and development, and retention of such members and veterans by the agency.

(4)

Other office

If an agency designated under paragraph (2)(A) does not have a Veterans Employment Program Office, the head of the agency, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, shall select an appropriate office of the agency to carry out the responsibilities of the agency under paragraph (3).

11.

Outreach program for certain veterans receiving unemployment compensation

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Labor shall carry out a program through the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training, the disabled veterans' outreach program specialists employed under section 4103A of title 38, United States Code, and local veterans' employment representatives employed under section 4104 of such title to provide outreach to covered veterans and provide them with assistance in finding employment.

(b)

Covered veterans

For purposes of this section, a covered veteran is a veteran who—

(1)

recently separated from service in the Armed Forces; and

(2)

has been in receipt of assistance under the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers program under subchapter II of chapter 85 of title 5 for more than 105 days.

12.

Department of Defense pilot program on work experience for members of the Armed Forces on terminal leave

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Defense may establish a pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of providing to covered individuals work experience with civilian employees and contractors of the Department of Defense to facilitate the transition of the individuals from service in the Armed Forces to employment in the civilian labor market.

(b)

Covered individuals

For purposes of this section, a covered individual is any individual who—

(1)

is a member of the Armed Forces;

(2)

the Secretary expects to be discharged or separated from service in the Armed Forces and is on terminal leave;

(3)

the Secretary determines has skills that can be used to provide services to the Department that the Secretary considers critical to the success of the mission of the Department; and

(4)

the Secretary determines might benefit from exposure to the civilian work environment while working for the Department in order to facilitate a transition of the individual from service in the Armed Forces to employment in the civilian labor market.

(c)

Duration

The pilot program shall be carried out during the two-year period beginning on the date of the commencement of the pilot program.

(d)

Report

Not later than 540 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on the pilot program that includes the findings of the Secretary with respect to the feasibility and advisability of providing covered individuals with work experience as described in subsection (a).

13.

Enhancement of demonstration program on credentialing and licensing of veterans

Section 4114 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by striking may and inserting shall;

(2)

in subsection (b)(1)—

(A)

by striking Assistant Secretary shall and inserting Assistant Secretary of Veterans' Employment and Training shall, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training,;

(B)

by striking 10 military and inserting five military; and

(C)

by inserting of Veterans' Employment and Training after selected by the Assistant Secretary; and

(3)

by striking subsections (d) through (h) and inserting the following:

(d)

Period of project

The period during which the Assistance Secretary shall carry out the demonstration project under this section shall be the two-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011.

.