Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- It may soon be harder for our veterans to get jobs. Critical tax credits, which give businesses an added incentive to hire vets, are set to expire. Senator Charles Schumer is now pushing his fellow lawmakers to take action before it’s too late.
Erwin Learned was an aircraft mechanic in the Navy. He learned skills he still uses every day while working at Crouse Hospital.
“I work in quality improvement now and working on ejection seats. Quality is an important part of aviations, so that translated pretty well,” Learned said.
As more and more veterans return home from war, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for many to find work. Right now, there are more than 2,200 unemployed veterans in Central New York.
“Our veterans have risked their lives for us. We don’t want them spending months on the unemployment line,” Senator Schumer said.
When companies do hire vets, they can be eligible for tax credits ranging from a couple, to nearly $10,000, but if Washington doesn’t take action soon, that money could soon be gone.
Crouse employs more than 100 vets and plans to hire another half dozen. Schumer says the credits are an added incentive.
“We are always going to hire the best candidate for the job, if we get a credit, it's a bonus. But we have had many veterans come out that have had the background that they need,” said Crouse’s Director of Human Resources John Bergemann.
Crouse hired about a dozen veterans under the tax credit program. It was originally passed with bi-partisan support, but Schumer says it’s getting caught up again in Washington politics.
Schumer also says that nearly 17 percent of veterans that return home to New York from the war in Iraq or Afghanistan are unemployed.