DENVER (CBS4) – Even though the economy is improving, thousands of U.S. veterans are struggling to find jobs. The unemployment rate for veterans ages 20 – 24 is 19-percent.

Rep. Mike Coffman is a veteran himself, and he’s hoping to help.

“I’ve made that transition myself, having come out of the Army and the Marine Corps. And I know it’s tough for vets particularly for those who have combat skills, but don’t necessarily have skills readily transferable to civilian jobs,” Coffman told CBS4.

The Republican Congressman from Colorado introduced legislation that builds on a little known program that allows veterans to use their G.I. benefits for on-the-job training. The government pays their salary while they learn a trade.

“The reality is it can be very difficult to find jobs. It can be very difficult to make that transition from the military to civilian life,” said Navy veteran, Rick Grimes.

Grimes works for Tri-State Generation and Transmission. He’s a foreman and among 150 veterans who work at the facility, they make up 10-percent of the workforce. But he says many employers don’t see the value of military experience.

“Character, loyalty, leadership abilities,” Grimes outlined for CBS4.

Grimes feels that with or without a government incentive, companies are lucky to get veterans as employees. Coffman’s bill passed out of the House of Representatives with bi-partisan support. Now it moves to the Senate.


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