This past summer, I helped launch the Solar by Soldiers project which helps put veterans back to work. This program helps train veterans in clean energy technology and installation and then connects them with opportunities in this high-growth industry. And it is already generating results in our state. Flannagans in Dublin, a small business eager to install energy efficient technologies, completed the first building retrofit through Tipping Point Renewable Energys Solar by Soldiers program. A Marine from Central Ohio recently told me that he spent two years, following his return from Iraq, applying for jobs. With few promising leads, he heard news reports about the Solar by Soldiers program and went to Tipping Point Renewable to find a job. He has been working for them ever since.

We need to do more to help Ohio veterans find jobs.

Servicemembers already armed with the discipline and skills needed to strengthen the 21st century economy should not have to struggle to find a job when their military service ends. Yet, in the United States, more than 20 percent of veterans between the ages of 20 and 24 years old are unemployed.

Some of Americas highest achieving young people are spending months searching the Internet, attending job fairs, reading the classifieds, and looking through the telephone book to find work without success.

This is unacceptable.

That is why I have been partnering with local leaders and working with my colleagues in Congress to pass meaningful legislation, like the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, to connect veterans with new jobs.

We all have a responsibility to help Americas veterans find the resources needed to resume their civilian lives. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act a new law that provides tax credits for employers who hire unemployed veterans and helps connect veterans with job opportunities moves us closer to fulfilling that obligation.

The Vow to Hire Heroes Act also ensures that all veterans have access to the Transition Assistance Program an interagency workshop coordinated by the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs aimed at helping servicemembers transitioning to civilian life. To ensure a seamless shift from the military to civilian life, it also allows servicemembers to start the federal employment process prior to separation from service so that they can interview at the VA, Homeland Security, or other federal agencies in need of veterans expertise.

With this law, veterans and those who hire veterans will have access to the services needed to find good-paying jobs, and we have a critical new tool to combat high unemployment levels for Ohios veterans.

When local leaders, small business owners, and members of Congress work together to pass legislation that matters to Americans in places like Hamilton County, with more than 60,000 veterans, we can make a big difference. That is why I recently held a VA hearing at Columbus State Community College to build on this momentum and continue improving the lives of Ohios veterans. This hearing was an important reminder that listening to Ohios veterans helps shape policies that will be beneficial to their continued career development and lifelong success.

By raising awareness of veterans jobs services and better coordinating the range of resources available to them, we can help improve job prospects for Americas heroes.

Ending veterans long waits between the end of service and the start of a new career will require smart legislation, local support, and continued outreach to veterans. If youre interested in joining our efforts, contact my office at 888-896-OHIO (6446) or for additional information on how we can help end high unemployment among Americas veterans.