As the unemployment rate for veterans approaches 13 percent -- five points higher than the national rate -- Sen. Claire McCaskill says the federal government is not doing enough to help them find work.
"An alarming trend," is how the Missouri Democrat described the state of affairs. She led a Senate hearing Tuesday on the subject.
"We cannot continue to betray the trust of our nation's veterans by not doing everything in our power to ensure that they have access to employment," McCaskill said. "We also cannot continue to invest scarce government resources -- and waste businesses' time -- demanding that they file reports which nobody pays any attention to and which don't seem to have any benefit to veterans employment."
Hiring veterans is supposed to be a priority of the federal government. Programs to work with them are scattered among various agencies. Government contractors receiving more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded work are required to post job openings nationally and report their employment data to the U.S. Labor Department.
But McCaskill said at the hearing of her Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight that the effort was inefficient because two separate offices within the Labor Department have jurisdiction over the programs. She also said the hiring data were "spotty and frequently inaccurate."
As to how well federal contractors are adhering to the requirements on veteran employment, "we have no idea," McCaskill said.