The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

March 23, 2013

Tax credits to aid veteran hiring

MERCER COUNTY — As the adjutant general and quartermaster for the Pennsylvania VFW, John Getz is one of the people desperate veterans call for help when they are at their wits end.

“I get a couple calls a week, and it seems to be accelerating,” Getz said. “It certainly isn’t getting better.”

For that reason, Getz welcomed news this week that the state House of Representatives had unanimously passed legislation that would provide a $4,000 tax credit to any small business that hires a veteran.

It is the latest of several initiatives that have been put in place over the years as the country has struggled to find the best method of helping people move from military service into careers.

With more young veterans leaving service, Pennsylvania needs to act to augment the efforts of the federal government, said Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria County, who authored the tax credit legislation.

Ken Hulling, a local veterans employment representative at the Harrisburg Careerlink office, has a noticed an uptick in requests for help too. He had been getting about 20 new requests for help a month, but lately it’s been more like 30 to 40, he said.

Nearly half of the state’s 66 Careerlink offices have people on staff like Hulling, veterans who understand the challenges facing other veterans, to help other vets refine resumes and find jobs, said Sara Goulet, a Department of Labor and Industry spokeswoman.

The local veterans representatives are funded by a grant provided by the federal Department of Labor. The job coaches for veterans program was created at the end of the first Gulf War in the 1990s.

In Pennsylvania, the 6.7 percent unemployment rate for veterans generally is below the statewide unemployment rate of 8.1 percent for all residents.

The situation for post-9/11 veterans is far different.

“Veterans returning from Afghanistan, as a group, face an unemployment rate twice the state average, as well as wounds caused by IED explosives," said Barbin, D-Cambria. "After the sacrifices made by them and their families, it is our duty to honor their sacrifice by getting these men and women back into the workforce first.”

Barbin’s legislation would create a $50 million tax credit, enough tax forgiveness to allow businesses to hire 12,000 workers.

There are about 35,000 unemployed veterans in Pennsylvania and Barbin said that as more veterans return from Afghanistan, the situation could get worse.

That’s why he felt it was important to move now to create a tax credit to encourage businesses to hire veterans.

“The economy is getting better, so people are going to be hiring,” Barbin said.

To make the tax credit program more attractive to small businesses, the bill included language that would allow the tax credit to be sold if the business does not have enough tax liability to use it, he said.

One of the challenges is that veterans may not always know how to translate their experience into terms that make them marketable, said Hulling.

Getz said there may be biases at play as well. He wonders if employers are passing on veterans out of concern about having to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hulling said that when he deals with employers who have had hired veterans in the past, they typically say their prior experiences have been positive.

The frustration of his job is that the pace of hiring has simply not always kept pace with the demand for work, he said. In a recent case, he organized a job fair for a local business and 100 would-be workers showed up. Afterward, the local manager, who had requested the job fair, said that they had postponed hiring so none of the candidates got jobs.

In other cases, some of the biggest impediments to getting jobs for vets are that they have run afoul of the law and employers refuse to hire them, Hulling said.

“That rigidness in treating everyone the same, without looking at the individual, is a challenge,” Hulling said. “The larger the company, the more rigid they tend to be.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo