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Bill Introduced to Support Veterans' Employment in the Growing Sustainability Sector
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 05/31/2023

On May 24, Representative Joe Webster (D-Montgomery) introduced House Bill 1239, aiming to establish the Veterans Entering the Sustainability Sector (VETS) Program within the Department of Community and Economic Development. The program aims to provide apprenticeship training and employment opportunities for veterans in the expanding sustainability sector. Recognizing the increasing demand for positions within the green job market, Rep. Webster seeks to incentivize the hiring of veterans in this field.

Under the proposed program, employers who hire veterans that have completed or are expected to complete the apprenticeship will have the opportunity to apply for grants based on the nature of the hiring. The departments of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, and Environmental Protection will participate in the program, providing apprenticeship training to veterans and facilitating their integration into the sustainability sector workforce.

Veterans often face underemployment challenges, with a 37% higher likelihood of being underemployed compared to non-veterans. Despite their valuable training and experience, veterans, especially those without college degrees, are often limited to low-skill jobs that don't utilize their full potential. The VETS Program aims to address this issue by offering veterans opportunities for meaningful employment in the sustainability sector.

Reports highlight the economic opportunities in clean energy, agriculture, and tourism in Pennsylvania. The state's clean energy economy experienced significant growth in 2021, reaching over 92,700 jobs, with small businesses and diverse communities contributing to this growth. Additionally, agriculture and tourism sectors generated substantial economic activity and employment in the state.

The proposed VETS Program aligns with these trends, creating pathways for veterans to contribute to Pennsylvania's cleaner, safer environment while benefiting from the expanding job market. State agencies are currently hiring in the sustainability, environmental protection, and resource management sectors, offering opportunities for veterans and individuals interested in these fields.

For further information, individuals can contact Representative Joe Webster via email at or by calling 717-787-0419.

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