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Governor Christie Committed to Helping Veterans Get Jobs

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Uploaded on Sep 23, 2011

Helmets to Hardhats - September 22, 2011. (Transcript Below)

Governor Christie: Well good afternoon everybody and welcome, and I'm happy to be here for this Helmets to Hardhats announcement. I thank Bill Mullen my friend for being here and for his participation in this, the members of my cabinet who are here. We all know that New Jersey's veterans are brave people who have given a great deal to our state and to our nation, and during some of the most hostile conditions that we've seen in conflicts that have happened all around the globe. and to those of you who are here today, members of the military who are here, I want to thank you for your love of our country and your commitment to service in bringing the American ideals of freedom and liberty to people across the world. You are irreplaceable and we thank you for your service.

We honor and support in a variety of ways through the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs regional Family Assistance Centers, our established statewide network of veteran service officers, whose only job is to ensure that all veterans are able to access the vast array of state and federal benefits that are available to them. We are here to serve them and their families when they are home and when they're abroad. As Governor I've signed legislation that strengthens that support network for military families after the death of a service member as well as a program that awards high school diplomas to veterans who dropped out to serve in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In addition it was my honor this past winter to sign the bill that established the Gold Star Family license plate to honor their loved ones killed in action, and I'm glad that we have that plate here in New Jersey now to make sure that those families are honored for the sacrifice they make every day as they miss their loved one who gave his or her life for our country. Just last month I signed legislation that creates two new assistance tools that provide financial support and peer counseling services through the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council Fund and the Veteran to Veteran Peer Support Program telephone help line headquartered at UMDNJ.

So now today I'm pleased to expand our commitment even more by making available $195,000 for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to partner with the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council on the Helmets to Hardhats Program. We need to make sure that when veterans come home that they have a job to come back to, that they have the type of skills that are necessary to make sure that they can have sustained employment over the period of their careers once they leave the military and this program is going to help to do that, and as New Jersey continues on the path to economic recovery, having 50,000 new private sector jobs created since we presented our first budget back in March of 2010, we want to make sure that we get all of our residents back to work, the ones who can work and who want to work, and partnerships like Helmets to Hardhats are more important than ever in this economic environment. Three-quarters of New Jersey's active duty military and 55% of its reserve members are under 35 years of age. This is the age group that's most frequently recruited into trade apprenticeship programs. Additionally the majority of active and reserve personnel also have high school diplomas or GED's, a requirement of most of the trade apprenticeship programs, so this is a great marriage, and we need to help them find the job opportunities and this program will help land many into the building trades industry. From boilermakers to ironworkers to painters and roofers and carpenters, Helmets to Hardhats transitions veterans into careers in one of the state's 15 affiliated building and construction trades, providing career training and preparation to put successful apprentices to work, and that's why I'm so glad to be here with Bill today. We have worked hard together since my swearing in to try to make job #1 of our partnership getting more and more of the members of Bill's trades council back to work, and that's not going to happen just because one of us is working or the other is working. We've got to work together to make that happen and we have and we've seen more and more folks getting back to work in New Jersey. There are still a lot more that need to get back to work. We still have a lot of things to do, but these type of partnerships help to continue the momentum that we've already established, and it's only appropriate that we do all that we can for our veterans as an expression of our gratitude and our appreciation for their service to our state and to our country...

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