Press Release

Manchin, Kirk, Ernst, Gillibrand Launch Post 9-11 Veterans Caucus

Aug 5, 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today launched the Post-9-11 Veterans Caucus with industry leaders Starbucks and Uber to address the challenges that this new generation of post-9-11 veterans face when entering the job market. Starbucks and Uber have committed to hiring at least 60,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. Also in attendance was Illinois native and Student Veterans of America government affairs vice president Will Hubbard, who discussed the current VA shortfall in the medical field and how veterans with specialized medical skills can help fill the void.

“One of our nation’s great challenges today is making sure the new generation of veterans are able to effectively reenter civilian life,” said Senator Manchin. “The 9-11 Generation of veterans are some of the best and brightest in the world. But these veterans, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, now fight for jobs, they fight opioid dependence, they fight mental health challenges, and a multitude of other issues that we need to address. This Caucus is an opportunity to address these challenges and make good on our obligation to serve those who have sacrificed for us and for this great nation of ours.”

“The best way to care for a veteran is to help them get a job. Industry leaders Starbucks and Uber are setting an example I hope others will follow,” Senator Kirk said. “I wrote Frontlines to Lifelines (S. 297) so medics and corpsmen can transition into medical positions at the VA where they can care for other veterans.”

“As members of the post-9-11 Veterans Caucus, we have an important opportunity to set the example and bring forth bipartisan and non-political solutions which ultimately serve this group of veterans,” said Senator Ernst. “I will seek to ensure Congress and the American people have a better understanding of the challenges facing our post-9-11 veterans who are the greatest generation of the 21st century.”

“No member of our military should have to face the next chapter of his or her life alone after bravely serving our country,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This caucus was created to address the unique challenges affecting our post-9-11 veterans. I am proud to join Senators Mark Kirk, Joe Manchin and Joni Ernst to work on the issues affecting our veterans. Too many of our veterans silently struggle with unemployment, homelessness and mental health injuries. We should be empowering and providing support for our veterans – making sure they have access to the best possible resources available to them. That includes ensuring that they get the best value from their education, which is why today we introduced the Career-Ready Student Veteran Act because we need to ensure that our veterans’ educations serve them well.”

“Since Uber launched the UberMILITARY program almost a year ago, over 20,000 members of the military community have taken advantage of flexible earning opportunities on the Uber platform, collectively earning over $63 million. We’re proud of our commitment to the important issue of veteran un-and-underemployment,and we are pleased that the Post-9-11 Veterans Caucus is drawing attention to this important set of issues by sharing best practices from Uber and others on how to best engage with the valuable resource that is our veteran community,” Matt Gore, Uber General Manager and U.S. Navy veteran.

“For 28 years, I was privileged to wear Army green and serve our nation amongst an incredible population of men and women committed to serve.  Now, I am honored to be among the more than 4,600 veterans and military spouses hired in the past two years who wear the Starbucks green,” said David Van Slambrook, retired U.S. Army Colonel and Starbucks partner resources manager. “I am proud to work for a company with a commitment to hire at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses and a culture that recognizes and values military service.I hope to continue to help ensure the men and women who proudly wear the cloth of our nation move successfully to the next chapter in their lives.”

“Considering the national and economic security issues we face today, it’s clear that our country is best served by empowering the newest generation of veteran leaders through education, careers, and opportunities for continued service,” said Will Hubbard, U.S. Marine Corps and vice president of government affairs for Student Veterans of America.

The Post-9-11 Veterans Caucus is designed to raise awareness and educate Members and staff on key issues for new veterans, such as employment, education, transition support and specific health care needs. The caucus is supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Student Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America.

Senators Manchin and Kirk are also Co-Chairs of the Congressional Veterans Job Caucus, which seeks to create solutions for the challenges that Active Duty, Reserve and Guard members face as they transition to civilian life.