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Letter to the Secretary of Labor Directing Expansion of the Jobs for Veterans Program.

May 08, 1972

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As we near the end of the first full year of the Six-Point Jobs for Veterans Program, I am encouraged that our efforts have done a great deal to reduce the intolerably high unemployment rate for Vietnam-era veterans. This is not a time to slacken our efforts, however, for the rate of military separations is still substantial and we can not yet be satisfied with the unemployment of those who have already returned to the civilian labor force.

Therefore, I would like you to undertake a new Six-Point Jobs for Veterans Program for fiscal year 1973, building on the solid foundation of this year's program by raising our goals, further accelerating our campaign and improving the Government's ability to deliver the necessary resources. This letter provides basic guidance for such expansion.

I regard this effort as of the highest priority in Federal manpower and training programs, and with your personal leadership, I am confident that it is in good hands. Our campaign is of such importance that its goals must be achieved-even if this means diverting staff and funds from other activities. I also call upon all Government agencies to draw fully on available resources and authority.

You have my personal mandate to carry out the following actions:

(1) Continue to draw upon the resources of the National Alliance of Businessmen.

You should develop, with the Chairman of the Board of the National Alliance of Businessmen, a strategy to increase the participation of American business in providing additional employment opportunities for Vietnam-era veterans. NAB should increase its goals beyond the 100,000 pledged last year, through its promotion of the Job Opportunities Business Sector (JOBS) Program.

(2) Provide the job training necessary for servicemen who lack civilian skills in occupations available in the labor market.

Separating servicemen who have educational and civil job deficiencies should have the opportunity to receive civilian job training and related services (for up to 60 days).

Training of servicemen for civilian jobs should be concentrated in special skill centers at military installations where returning veterans who have educational and skill deficiencies will have an opportunity to receive job training and related services. The Department of Defense (DOD) should concentrate resources at selected military bases to provide high quality job training, counseling and placement services with the full support of Labor, HEW, and VA.

Employment briefings and counseling to servicemen overseas should provide job market information essential for them to enter the labor market and apply their maximum skills. Servicemen who lack skills should be provided assistance for the determination of a plan suitable for job training or education to prepare them for employment. The program already underway should be continued and improved.

(3) Continue to augment the number of job training and educational opportunities for returning veterans, with appropriate emphasis on college, technical and high school education.

Enrollments in classroom type manpower training programs of the Department of Labor should be increased for unemployed and underemployed Vietnam-era veterans. Efforts should also be made to increase veteran participation in GI Bill training and manpower assistance programs and to augment benefits through the coupling of MDTA and GI Bill training programs. Further, priority modifications which are necessary to assure adequate enrollment of returning veterans in MDTA and HEW education programs should be made without delay.

These actions lend themselves well to both State and local participation, and to plans for coalition among VA, Labor, OEO, HEW, HUD, and other public and private agencies and institutions.

I am particularly hopeful that participation in GI Bill programs can be increased through specific outreach into urban and rural areas, fully informing veterans of available educational and other benefits.

Apprenticeship training programs should be specially adapted and publicized to provide for maximum participation by recent veterans.

(4) Assure that listing of job openings with the U.S. Employment Service is being accomplished by all agencies and contractors funded by the Federal Government.

Based upon Executive Order 11598, there should be a sizeable increase in the number of jobs listed with local public employment offices and available to returning veterans. The effectiveness of the Order will be greatly increased by monitoring of Federal procurement officers.

(5) Increase the number of appropriate job openings for Vietnam-era veterans and the placement of veterans in those jobs.

All public employment programs should realistically aim for higher goals and accomplishments in order to infuse government at all levels with the unique capabilities of returning veterans. The Civil Service Commission should expand its programs in this area. Every agency should maximize job opportunities involving on-the-job training for veterans, particularly the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Employment Service, and the National Alliance of Businessmen. VA and USES should design "coupled on-the-job training programs" throughout the country to allow the employer to be reimbursed for training costs while the veteran trainee receives a GI Bill training allowance in addition to his regular wage. All new opportunities of this type should also be widely publicized.

(6) Provide special Labor/VA services to Vietnam-era veterans who have been drawing unemployment compensation for three or more months.

These veterans should be referred immediately to the U.S. Employment Service, VA, or--where serious employment handicaps are indicated--to State vocational rehabilitation agencies for special counseling, job placement and training.

Beyond these tasks, I would expect that the veterans' assistance programs already initiated by the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Civil Service Commission, and the U.S. Postal Service will be expanded in the year ahead.

I also anticipate that the Jobs for Veterans-National Committee (JFV) will continue to conduct effective promotional measures. Working closely with the Advertising Council, JFV should bring our message to the entire nation through extensive use of mass media. Employers and veterans will be brought together at Job Fairs throughout the country, while advice and assistance will be provided to the hundreds of Veterans Task Forces organized by Governors, Mayors, and communities to help veterans find suitable jobs and training.

Because of the importance of this effort, I would like you to continue to make progress reports to me and prepare a special twelve-month report on actual program accomplishments and shortfalls for Cabinet discussion. The arrangements for these reports and any other necessary assistance should be made with the Office of Management and Budget. I know that I can continue to count on your full energies and the support of all Government agencies in this vital national campaign.



[Honorable James D. Hodgson, Secretary of Labor, Washington, D.C. 20210]

Note: The letter was dated May 5, 1972, and released May 8.

On May 8, the White House released a fact sheet and the transcript of a news briefing on the Six-Point Jobs for Veterans Program. Participants in the news briefing were James D. Hodgson, Secretary, and Malcolm R. Lovell, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Manpower, Department of Labor; and Donald E. Johnson, Administrator of Veterans Affairs.

Richard Nixon, Letter to the Secretary of Labor Directing Expansion of the Jobs for Veterans Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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