The unemployment rate for veterans is 12 percent. That's more than the national average. A group of bills supported by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand aims to turn that number around. Sarah Blazonis reports.
ROME, N.Y. -- Staff Sgt. Tariel Williams is getting ready to retire from the Army in October. He says he's not nervous about leaving his job of nearly 20 years.
"Not at all, not at all. I'm a little bit older than the average soldier, so, you know, I'm a little more confident," said Staff Sgt. Williams.
Part of that confidence comes from this, certification from Mohawk Valley Community College's Airframe and Power Plant program.
"It's a great tool for soldiers preparing to re-enter the civilian world. It's one of my lifetime goals," said Williams.
Staff Sgt. Williams says he hopes the training helps him get a new job in his post-Army life.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says that's a goal that can seem out of reach for many veterans.
"The skills that our veterans have are absolutely unmatched. If you can drive a high tech armored vehicle, odds are, there isn't a piece of machinery you can't operate out there," said Senator Gillibrand.
The senator visited MVCC to detail legislation including the TAP Modernization Act. It would allow veterans and their families to take classes at off-base locations to learn resume and interviewing skills.
The Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act would strengthen the Post-9/11 GI Bill that helped Williams get his training.
"It will call on state agencies to conduct greater outreach activities to assist our veterans in making better decisions, more informed decisions and to make sure they're not being taken advantage of," said Gillibrand.
And once that training is complete, Senator Gillibrand says the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act would help ease the hiring process.
All programs Staff Sgt. Williams and his classmates say will be powerful tools for future generations.