Veterans can go from battlefield to the boardroom | Editorial

Beyond mouthing the often-obligatory "Thank you for your service," we can begin by acknowledging that the transition back to civilian life can be brutal, and that the lack of job openings creates enormous stumbling blocks along the way.

Now Singleton and a concerned group of colleagues from across the aisle are sponsoring a bill they call the New Jersey Battlefield to Boardroom Act, designed to motivate employers in the state to hire former service members.

The bipartisan measure, along with a companion bill in the state Senate, would provide a corporate business tax credit and gross income tax credit for qualified wages for certain veterans.

The two credits established by the bill would provide an employer with a credit equaling 10 percent of the wages paid to a veteran, up to $1,200 for each veteran in every tax year. 

The Senate version also requires employers to regularly conduct specific recruitment efforts to hire veterans and members of their nuclear families, as well as to provide veteran-support services in the workplace.

More than 400,000 veterans call New Jersey home, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Many of these individuals are highly skilled in modern technology and have been trained to handle tough assignments in challenging conditions. Working under pressure, an occupational hazard in most of today's world of work, comes as second nature to those who have been tested in Iran, Afghanistan and other locales.

"These honorable men and women would be excellent contributors in the civilian workplace, so encouraging employers to consider them when hiring truly benefits all parties involved," Singleton writes in a blog.

As colleges and universities in the state incorporate veterans into campus life, offering courses and programming tailored to their particular needs, our lawmakers are responding with concrete incentives to employers such as those created by the Battlefield to Boardroom Act.

When they hang up their uniforms for the last time, Singleton says, many who served our country look around and wonder, "What's next?"

The bill now moving through the Legislature helps provide an answer. It deserves a full hearing as it moves toward passage.

 Original Article