New bill to help vets' schooling, training

Iraq War veteran and current Adelphi University student Iraq War veteran and current Adelphi University student Gregory Clarke of Brooklyn, 28, speaks beside U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at Adelphi University. (May 4, 2012) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy stood with student veterans at Adelphi University in Garden City Friday to announce legislation to help provide education and job training for veterans and to streamline the certification process for civilian jobs.

"This new legislation is an important investment for our heroes," said Gillibrand, a New York Democrat.

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McCarthy (D-Mineola) said: "We should be doing everything we can to make sure that these heroes are able to go to school or enter the workforce -- or both -- as they return to civilian life."

Adelphi president Robert Scott said the school has a "strong heritage" of welcoming veterans as students under various G.I. bills and that they deserve help in re-entering civilian life. The university will hold a Veterans Employment Summit on May 23, said Scott.

Gillibrand and McCarthy's proposal would offer classes for veterans and their spouses at sites off base, call on state agencies to increase outreach to veterans through events such as career fairs and training programs and would require agencies to recognize relevant military training and skills when certifying veterans for occupations requiring federal licenses.

"When the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill was passed in 2008, we started to see an immediate increase in veteran students studying at Adelphi," said Shawn O'Riley, who oversees the school's older undergraduate student program. "Veteran student enrollment is now four times what it was before the bill. As a result, we started to develop special policies, procedures and staff."

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