With 27 Percent Unemployment Rate Among Young Veterans, Brown to Call for Passage of Hiring Heroes Act
COLUMBUS, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) helped launch the Solar by Soldiers program, which helps to train and employ veterans in clean energy installation, in Columbus today. During a press conference at Flanagan’s of Dublin, Brown was joined by a central Ohio veteran who helped install a solar array at Flanagan’s. Brown also marked the completion of the first solar array built by the Solar for Soldiers program which is estimated to save $238,260 on utility costs over 25 years. David Straub, the owner of Flanagan’s, and Eric Zimmer, CEO of Tipping Point Energy, who runs the Solar for Soldiers program attended the press conference.
“Solar for Soldiers partners two of our state’s important assets: dedicated veterans and clean energy manufacturers,” Brown said. “Ohio can lead the nation in clean energy manufacturing and utilization, but this will require that our state’s skilled workers have the training and resources needed for 21st century jobs. And with an unemployment rate for young veterans hovering above 25 percent, we need to do a better job connecting our state’s returning servicemembers with career opportunities.
“Our commitment to our servicemembers shouldn’t end when they return home as skilled, experienced civilians. The skills our veterans gain in the military – from leadership experience to technical and scientific skills – are skills they can utilize to help make Ohio the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing.”
“We are excited to announce the public launch of our Solar by Soldiers program today. Solar is currently the fastest growing industry in the United States. In tough economic times clean energy is a way to create jobs in both manufacturing and installation of these important technologies,” Zimmer said. “Continued federal and state investment is key to this growth. We want to make sure that as our veterans return home they are able to find good work in a growing field. We have more than $20 million worth of projects in central Ohio that we are working to launch to help create more jobs for these very worthy heroes.”
Brown is working to connect Ohio veterans with job opportunities and make Ohio the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy Manufacturing. With the unemployment rate for veterans aged 20 to 24 at a staggering 27 percent, Brown is fighting for passage of the Hiring Heroes Act. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Brown helped pass this legislation through committee. The bill, which awaits a vote by the full U.S. Senate, would ensure broad job skills training for all servicemembers returning home and help ensure that more jobs are available for veterans as they transition to civilian life.
Supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Hiring Heroes aims to reduce unemployment among veterans transitioning to civilian life by ensuring that each separating service member attends a transition assistance program. The bill will also create new direct federal hiring authority so that more servicemembers have jobs waiting for them the day they leave the military, and will improve veteran mentorship programs in the working world.
Brown has also authored and championed legislation that would expand and improve the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. The Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act provides a 30 percent credit (known as 48C) for domestic companies that invest in new, expanded, or improve energy efficiency. In Ohio alone, 48C has supported seven projects totaling nearly $125 million in tax credits. The SEAM Act also adjusts the selection criteria to give higher priority to facilities that manufacture—rather than assemble—goods and components in the U.S.
The initial tax credit, which was originally included in the Recovery Act, supported seven Ohio projects totaling nearly $125 million in tax credits; dozens more eligible projects applied for funding and were denied due to a lack of funds. The Department of Energy (DOE) states that the program was more than three times oversubscribed. Nationwide, DOE deemed 418 projects eligible, which amounts to $5.8 billion in unfunded eligible applications. These manufacturers are waiting in the pipeline, and would be ready to break ground soon after they receive funding.