At Cleveland Manufacturer Looking to Hire Veterans for as Many as 45 Open Positions, Brown Outlines New Jobs Law That Provides Incentives for Businesses to Hire Veterans

GrafTech International Employs 42 Veterans, With 45 Open Positions Waiting to be Filled; Company is Working with Cleveland’s Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) to Hire More Veterans

Brown Was an Original Cosponsor of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, Signed into Law in November, Which Provides Tax Incentives to Employers that Hire Veterans and Job Training for Servicemembers Transitioning to Civilian Life

LAKEWOOD, OH – A Cleveland-area manufacturer, GrafTech International, has hired 42 veterans and is looking to hire more veterans for up to 45 open positions at its Lakewood and Parma facilities. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited GrafTech International this morning to highlight the VOW to Hire Heroes Act 2011, a new law that he cosponsored that provides tax credits to companies that hire unemployed veterans.

“Servicemembers who risk their lives protecting our nation shouldn’t have to wonder whether or not they’ll be able to find a job when they leave the service.  Unfortunately, many do—and that’s not right,” Brown said. “Today, many veterans—including our young veterans—face an unacceptably high unemployment rate. More than one in five of veterans aged 20 to 24 can’t find a job to support their family or to ease the transition to civilian life.  Just as we invest in our servicemembers while they’re on the battlefield, we should do the same when they return home.

“At the end of last year, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides transition assistance and job and education training to connect veterans of all ages with jobs in high-demand sectors. It also provides tax incentives for employers to hire veterans. Employers like GrafTech are leading the way by hiring veterans and showing how these incentives are not only about opportunities for veterans, but about helping to strengthen our economy by meeting the demand for high-skilled workers.”

Brown was joined by Chris Longstaff, a veteran recently hired by GrafTech as a process manager, as well as GrafTech CEO Craig Shular, to outline how the new law will help more companies hire former servicemembers and why hiring veterans has been beneficial for GrafTech. Becky Kemp from the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) also joined Brown to outline MAGNET’s recently-launched initiative to match returning veterans with training for available manufacturing jobs in Northeast Ohio.

“As a supplier to leading edge, technology companies, we need high-quality team members making our products and leading our company,” GrafTech Process Manager Chris Longstaff said. “Therefore, we select all of our team members on the basis of:  leadership, teamwork and dedication.  Armed forces veterans have lived these three traits and carry them well into civilian jobs.”

“On behalf of Team GrafTech, I thank Senator Brown for his relentless support of our country’s veterans,” said GrafTech CEO Craig Shular.

In November, the Senate passed and the President signed into law the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which included another piece of legislation cosponsored by Brown—the Hiring Heroes Act—that aims to ensure that all servicemembers transitioning to civilian life receive the job training skills they need to find employment. Brown also recently held a U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Field Hearing in Columbus to examine barriers that veterans face to finding employment. Key provisions of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 include:

  • Tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months.
  • Tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.
  • The VOW to Hire Heroes Act makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), an interagency workshop coordinated by Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, mandatory for servicemembers moving on to civilian life to help them secure 21st Century jobs through resume writing workshops and career counseling.
  • Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go towards education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools.   
  • Provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.

  • Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, Homeland Security, or the many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.

 GrafTech’s Lakewood facility, originally called “Factory A”, was built in 1892 by GrafTech’s predecessor company, the National Carbon Company. It is responsible for the manufacture of GrafTech’s Electronic Thermal Management family of products, which enable the latest generation of displays (LED/LCD/plasma), handheld devices (smartphones and tablets) and other consumer electronics. GrafTech Lakewood (Factory A) also produces additional products that are sold into the advanced energy generation and storage markets.

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