In a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation, Congress and the White House are joining in an effort to boost employment among vets, including a new retraining program for older vets.
On Thursday, the Senate approved a portion of President Obama's proposed jobs plan designed to help former service members. The legislation would create new tax credits of up to $5,600 for employers hiring veterans who have been job hunting for at least six months, and credits of up to $2,400 for hiring those out of work for at least four weeks, as the Associated Press explains. Additionally, the legislation would increase to $9,600 the existing tax credit to employers who hire disabled veterans.
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, primarily is targeted at service members returning from the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose unemployment has edged higher than the national average of around 9 percent. But some provisions would help older veterans, as well. The bill would provide nearly 100,000 older veterans with as much as an additional year of GI Bill educational benefits to help them qualify for jobs in high-demand sectors, such as trucking and technology. It also would provide disabled veterans who've exhausted their unemployment coverage with up to one year of additional Veterans Administration vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits
The Obama administration also launched another initiative, Joining Forces, which is aimed at creating 100,000 new jobs for veterans and their spouses, in part by lobbying employers to post open positions in the newly created online Veterans Job Bank.
If you're a veteran looking for work, another nongovernment source of assistance is Goodwill Industries, which has launched a job training and placement support program. In 2010, the program helped nearly 26,000 former service members find work.
Over at Entrepreneur.com, Diana Ransom offers 5 Resources for Turning Vets Into Entrepreneurs.
In other news:
Spinal Tap Holiday? LA Weekly reports on a growing movement -- including 20,000 people on Facebook -- to designate November 11 as Nigel Tufnel Day. The new holiday would honor the fictional dim-witted heavy metal guitarist with the luxuriant mullet, portrayed by Christopher Guest in the 1984 rock mock-umentary This is Spinal Tap. Tufnel had a specially designed Marshall amp with volume controls that went up to 11. (It provided him with "that extra push off the cliff," he explains in the film.) While government recognition seems to be lacking, boomers and Generation Xers' enduring fondness for the film's satirical send-up of rock pretentiousness may elevate Nigel Tufnel Day to the same level of respect as, say, National Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Flunking Retirement 101: The Wall Street Journal reports that in June, insurer MetLife gave a 15-question "Retirement Income IQ" quiz to 1,213 people ages 56 to 65, and they didn't do too well. Only 24 percent correctly answered that a reverse mortgage is available only to those 62 and older, for example, and 42 percent incorrectly thought that health insurance, Medicare or disability coverage would pay for long-term care. (For primers on these important topics, visit SecondAct's new Retirement Savings Center.)
Supporting Adult Kids Takes a Toll: Another Wall Street Journal article highlights the stress that would-be empty nesters face as their grown-up kids struggle to find employment. About 59 percent of parents provide or recently provided financial help to children 19 to 39, and about 5.9 million people between 25 and 34 -- nearly a quarter of whom have college degrees -- live with their parents, an increase of about a million since the economy took a dive in the late 2000s. A quarter of parents have gone into deeper debt to help their kids, and 13 percent have delayed a planned purchase, such as a new home. Seven percent have postponed their own retirement.
Will Rolling Stones Do 50th Anniversary Tour? The Guardian, a UK newspaper, informs us that guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood and drummer Charlie Watts are getting together in London later this month to rehearse for the first time in several years. That teasing tidbit has fueled speculation that the Rolling Stones may go on a tour in 2012 to celebrate a half-century as a band. The proverbial fly in the ointment, however, may be securing the participation of singer Mick Jagger, who has been feuding with co-founder Richards. In Keith Richards: A Life, the bestselling memoir that Richards published last year, he famously tweaked his old mate for being aloof and self-absorbed. In a New York Times interview, Jagger derided Richards' memoir as "tedious." On the other hand, Jagger may well decide to rejoin the Stones, given the mediocre sales of the recent CD by SuperHeavy, the new group he formed with Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart, reggae star Damien Marley, Indian orchestral singer-composer A.R. Rahman and R&B singer Joss Stone.
Middle-Aged Americans Eye Startups: A new study released by Civic Ventures, the San Francisco-based think tank for second-act social entrepreneurship, has found that nearly one in four Americans between 44 and 70 are interested in starting businesses or nonprofit ventures within the next five to 10 years. Nearly half of them say they're interested in becoming "encore entrepreneurs," who make a positive social impact as well as a living from their new ventures.
Good News for Fitness Buffs: Fifty-year-olds who work out are as fit as much-younger couch potatoes. That's the finding of a recently published study by Norwegian researchers, Medical News Today reports. Scientists at the K.G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology also found that the intensity of exercise was more important than the duration. The best way to get in good cardiovascular shape quickly, they say, is to use interval training, in which exercisers run, bike or swim at a fast pace for a few minutes, rest or continue at an easier pace for a period, and then repeat the process multiple times.
Web Gadget of the Week: Edmunds.com's My Car Match is the automotive equivalent of those online dating services that offer to fix you up with a compatible partner. My Car Match guides shoppers through a menu of questions to determine what they're really looking for in their next set of wheels, and then matches them up with the car models that most closely fit those specs.
The Last Word: "I have been watching people go start things for a long time, and now I want to go start things." -- former New York Times and AOL journalist Saul Hansell, on why he is joining New York-based venture capital firm Betaworks