Summary: S.951 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (07/07/2011)

Hiring Heroes Act of 2011- (Sec. 2) Amends the Wounded Warriors Act to extend through 2014 the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide the same rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members of the Armed Forces (members) with severe injuries or illnesses as are provided to veterans.

(Sec. 3) Authorizes the VA Secretary to make payments to employers to provide on-job training to veterans who have not been rehabilitated to the point of employability.

(Sec. 4) Entitles certain veterans with service-connected disabilities who have already completed a VA rehabilitation program and have exhausted their rights to unemployment benefits to participation in an additional VA rehabilitation program. Limits the latter program to 24 months. Makes the 12-year post-service period of eligibility for a VA rehabilitation program inapplicable with respect to the additional program.

(Sec. 5) Directs the VA Secretary to follow-up (at least once every six months for a year and a half) on the employment status of veterans who participate in a VA rehabilitation program.

(Sec. 6) Requires (current law encourages) participation by eligible members in the Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) of the Department of Defense (DOD). Requires (under current law, authorizes) the provision of preseparation counseling to members whose discharge or release is anticipated.

(Sec. 7) Directs the Secretary of Labor to follow-up (at least three times over a one-year period) on the employment status of members who complete their participation in the TAP. Requires such Secretary to contract for TAP audits, to be conducted at least every three years. Requires audit reports.

(Sec. 8) Directs the VA Secretary to award grants to up to three nonprofit organizations under a collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program for eligible veterans seeking employment. Requires program reports from such Secretary to the congressional veterans committees. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Secretaries of DOD, VA, and Labor to jointly contract with an organization or entity to conduct a study to identify any equivalences between the skills developed by members through military occupational specialties and the qualifications required for various positions of civilian employment in the private sector. Requires the organization or entity chosen to report study results to such Secretaries, who shall transmit the report to Congress. Requires TAP participants to receive individualized assessments of civilian positions for which they may be qualified based on the study. Authorizes the Secretaries of VA and Labor to use the assessments for employment-related assistance in an individual's transition from military service to civilian life.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes the head of an executive agency to appoint an honorably discharged member to a position in the civil service, without regard to specified civil service examination, certification, and appointment provisions, if such individual is otherwise qualified. Requires executive agencies to establish programs to provide employment assistance to members being separated from active duty.

(Sec. 11) Directs the Secretary of Labor to carry out an outreach program to provide employment assistance to individuals recently separated from service who have been receiving assistance under the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers program for more than 105 days.

(Sec. 12) Authorizes the DOD Secretary to carry out a a two-year pilot program to assess the feasibility of providing work experience to certain members who are on terminal leave. Requires such Secretary to report to the defense and veterans committees on the pilot program.

(Sec. 13) Requires (under current law, authorizes) a VA demonstration project on the credentialing and licensing of veterans for the purpose of facilitating the seamless transition of members from service on active duty to civilian employment. Reduces from 10 to 5 the minimum number of occupational specialties to be considered under the project. Limits the project to two years. Directs the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training to carry out a study comparing costs incurred by the DOD Secretary in training members for military occupational specialties with costs incurred by the Secretaries of VA and Labor in providing employment-related assistance to veterans. Directs the Assistant Secretary to report study results to Congress.

(Sec. 14) Allows the Secretaries of DOD and Homeland Security to allow members eligible for assistance under a DOD employment, job training, and transitional assistance program to participate in an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship program that provides members with education, training, and services necessary to transition to employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency.

(Sec. 15) Extends through FY2014 VA authority to collect a loan fee for certain subsequent VA-guaranteed housing loans. Revises loan fee amounts.