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Senator Gillibrand announces legislation to help veterans find employment

By GARY LIBERATORE

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - Senator Kirsten Gillibrand chose the Mohawk Valley to announce new legislation aimed at helping veterans.

The Senator wrapped up a press conference at Mohawk Valley Community College's Technical Training Center at Griffiss International Airport on Friday morning around 11 a.m.

She was in the Mohawk Valley last year, leading a round-table discussion with local business leaders and veteran leaders to discuss ways to address veterans unemployment in the Mohawk Valley.

Se then helped pass the "VOW to Hire Heroes Act" last December, which provided tax incentives for businesses that hire veterans.

On Friday, she announced that she has now drafted legislation to further help vets make the transition from the military to civilian workforce.

Gillibrand says this new legislation is an important investment for our heroes.

"We must provide veterans with access to necessary resources, which allow them to get the education, job training and appropriate licensing that will ease their transition from military life to the civilian work force. Our veterans have earned this and it's the least we can do to give them the appropriate tools needed to be successful in their life after the military."

Besides area politicians, two active duty military members taking classes at MVCC were also on stage with the senator Friday morning, sharing their stories.

First, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tariel Williams, stationed at Ft. Drum, who has been in the military 19 1/2 years and will retire in October.

Staff Sgt. Williams says he knows the civilian job market is very competitive, no matter how much experience you have working on aircraft, and has prepared himself to enter that market by getting his Airframe and Powerplant Certificate from MVCC.

"This program is absolutely key for me being able to get a job once I reenter the civilian world," Staff Sgt. Williams said.

Staff Sgt. Williams says he hopes to get a job with the Federal Aviation Administration as an aviation inspector.

Also on the podium with Sen. Gillibrand Friday morning was U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Luis Aguilo of Ft. Drum.

Staff Sgt. Aguilo, who has been in the military for 11 years, isn't sure if he will leave at his 12 year anniversary, but also received his Airframe and Powerplant Certificate from MVCC this past week, so he is prepared once he does leave.

Staff Sgt. Aguilo says he wants to urge other soldiers and veterans to take advantage of any programs the government has available, especially the GI Bill.

"I really do encourage our soldiers, our veterans to study hard, you have your benefits, take advantage of them," Staff Sft. Aguilo.

The senator says there is bi-partisan support for her legislation and expects to it be voted on later this year.

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