Unemployed and Hungry Heroes

Come the new year, thousands of soldiers will return from Iraq to a country unable to employ 9% of its people, and 12% of its veterans.

Yesterday, noble efforts to address joblessness among former members of the military popped up from different corners of government.

The U.S. Senate passed President Obama’s plan to help 900,000 veterans access employment training and private sector jobs. The House is scheduled to vote on this proposal today.

In New York State, the governor announced an initiative to help veterans receive academic credit for military training at state and city colleges and match their military skills with jobs that fit them.

Veterans and their families desperately need these efforts. Perhaps even more Latino and African American soldiers, whose communities have been hit the worst by the economic downturn.

There is nothing more sad and shameful than news about veterans’ families struggling to access food. In New York City, 25% of veterans’ families have troubled affording food, according to a study released yesterday by the New York Food Bank.

It is tough to think of a reason why any legislature would turn down a proposal to help our veterans. But with the House so vehemently interested in only one job, the Presidency, it is possible it will dismiss the proposal.

Congress must pass today Obama’s veterans’ jobs bill and give America a reason to celebrate this Veterans Day.