Richard Nixon photo

Letter to the Secretary of Labor on Employment Opportunities for Returning Vietnam-Era Veterans.

June 13, 1971

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We have recently had occasion to discuss the serious need for increasing employment opportunities for our returning veterans. As you know, I am greatly concerned at any denial of civilian job opportunities to these young men who have borne the burden of fighting. I am also deeply concerned at the evidence that the most serious problem is experienced by those with educational deficiencies or other disabilities.

I am directing you to assume leadership of an intensive effort to place unemployed Vietnam-era veterans in jobs or training and to establish procedures which will provide employment for veterans as we continue phasing down the war in Vietnam. This will require effective mobilization of Federal resources. You have my personal mandate to undertake this task in coordination with Chairman James Oates of the Jobs for Veterans Committee, and you will have the full support of other Federal agencies.

This is an effort which I consider to be of the highest priority in Federal manpower and training programs, and of such importance that every available program should be used to the maximum toward achieving its goals. To speed action, I call upon all Government agencies to draw fully upon resources and authority already at hand.

In fulfilling this important charge, I ask that you include the following actions among those which you get under way immediately:

1. Draw upon the resources of the National Alliance of Businessmen. The Jobs for Veterans Program already has done much to attract the attention and support of communities throughout the Nation. In collaboration with Chairman Oates, you should develop, with Mr. John' Harper, chairman of the board of the National Alliance of Businessmen, a specific program to increase the participation of American business in providing additional employment opportunities for Vietnamera veterans. The National Alliance of Businessmen, through its promotion of the Job Opportunities in the Business Sector (JOBS) Program, has displayed a remarkable capability to mobilize the American business community in response to a national problem. I am therefore confident that the Alliance has much to contribute in this important area.

2. Work with the Secretary of Defense to expand substantially the Transition Program for separating servicemen in order to increase the opportunities for improving job counselling, job training, and placement. This should provide increasing numbers of those separating from military service, including those returning from overseas, with a counselling and testing service, and for those in need, a chance to receive any necessary job skill training, and job or school placement. For this purpose, U.S. employment offices and designated Defense Training Centers will be used, with Labor, VA, and HEW support.

3. Immediately augment the number of training opportunities for returning veterans and encourage veteran and employer participation. This will include such measures as increasing veteran participation in special manpower assistance programs, on-the-job training, additional public service careers opportunities, and veterans job earmarking in new apprenticeship program approvals. Veteran training participation and completion should be encouraged through maximizing the opportunities for veterans to draw dual GI Bill and MDTA [Manpower Development and Training Act] benefits, as recently authorized by the Congress. Any necessary priority modifications to assure adequate enrollment of returning veterans in MDTA programs should be made without delay.

4. Require listing of all job openings with the U.S. Employment Service by all agencies and contractors funded by the Federal Government. This will be accomplished soon through issuance of an Executive order [11598]. While the order will stipulate that there is no requirement to hire through the public employment services, existing policies on veterans preference will greatly expand the number of job openings available to veterans.

5. Greatly increase the effectiveness of the U.S. Training and Employment Service in finding and opening jobs and job-training opportunities for returning veterans. This effort should seek prompt results and cover the full range of USES services--including personal contact and registration of veterans, counselling, job development and registration with employers, and job placement. I expect definite goals of reducing veteran unemployment by specified target dates, together with regular reports of accomplishment. Each returning veteran must be reached and served by this effort. You should take full advantage of other federally financed field staffs which could be used for these purposes. Special measures will be adopted to assure that black veterans and other minority veterans get help in proportion to their great need.

6. Provide special Labor/VA services for Vietnam-era veterans who have been drawing unemployment compensation for three months or longer. These men should be referred immediately to the U.S. Employment Service, to the Veterans Administration, and, where serious employment handicaps are indicated, to State vocational rehabilitation agencies for special counselling and placement in jobs or training.

Because of the importance of this entire effort, I ask that you make bi-weekly progress reports to me. 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 count on your full energies and the support of all Government agencies in this vital national effort to provide the returning veteran what he has earned--a smooth transition to civilian life and meaningful work.



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

Note: The letter was dated June 11, 1971, and released June 13.

On June 13, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing, held June 11, on proposals to increase employment opportunities for Vietnam-era veterans by Secretary Hodgson, Malcolm K. Lovell, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Labor for Manpower, and Roger T. Kelley, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

On June 23, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing on further actions implementing the proposals by Secretary Hodgson, John D. Harper, Chairman, National Alliance of Businessmen, and James F. Oates, Jr., Chairman, Jobs for Veterans Program.

Richard Nixon, Letter to the Secretary of Labor on Employment Opportunities for Returning Vietnam-Era Veterans. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives