Sen. Carla Nelson: State legislature is working for our military heroes
Since 9/11, more than 22,000 Minnesota Guard members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan for extended periods, many multiple times.
According to state figures, the unemployment rate for Minnesota veterans who have served since 9/11 is nearly 23 percent, the third highest in the nation. It is almost double the national average and more than three times the state’s overall unemployment rate.
The Legislature and the state over the past few years began some new programs and built on others to help returning vets and their families. We invested in a program to help military veterans reintegrate into society after their service and expanded educational programs for soldiers and their families.
But we need to do more. I am working on legislation that will assist our veterans by matching their existing skill sets with in-demand industry jobs and providing supplementary education to bolster their candidacies as job applicants. We must connect the dots between the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), MnSCU and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans risk life and limb to protect our freedom and democracy; I am committed to supporting them as they integrate back into our communities. Our country owes a great debt to our military men and women. This Veterans Day, I hope you take time to thank our service members and their families. I also urge you to join me in considering ways that we can assist veterans and service members who have recently returned home to our community. Our nation is stronger because of those who selflessly defend it. For our veterans’ sacrifice and heroism, I am deeply grateful.
Sen. Nelson is the Vice Chair of the Education Committee
and a member of the Jobs and Economic Growth, Capitol Investment, Agricultural
and Local Government and Metropolitan Affairs Committees.