Rep. Paul Cook Legislation to Ensure Effectiveness of Veterans Programs Passes in House
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) announced that one of his bills, HR 832, the Veterans Employment and Training Service Longitudinal Study Act of 2015, passed the House of Representatives unanimously today as part of a larger bill. The larger bill, HR 6416, the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016, included language from Cook’s bill, HR 832, which will help ensure that veterans receive effective and successful employment training services.
Cook’s HR 832 is a bipartisan bill authorizing an independent organization to collect and analyze data on the effectiveness of the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS). The study will focus on veterans who have received intensive services from two programs under VETS, the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) and the Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER).
DVOP specialists provide intensive services to meet the employment needs of disabled veterans and other eligible veterans. They focus primarily on veterans who are economically or educationally disadvantaged, including homeless veterans and veterans with barriers to employment. LVER conduct outreach to employers and focus on increasing and promoting the hiring of veterans.
HR 832 would track veterans’ employment status, determine if the program has contributed to their employment, monitor their employment retention rate, and determine if the services provided helped them increase their average earnings. Annual reports of the findings will be presented to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in the House and Senate for five years.
Rep. Cook said, “Congress owes it to our veterans to provide them with the best employment services possible. Simply authorizing these programs isn’t enough. We have to follow up to ensure that they’re working as intended. We saw at the VA what happens when the bureaucracy isn’t subject to vigorous oversight. If we’re going to authorize these programs to boost veteran employment, Congress has a duty to ensure that they’re working.”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.