After seven tours of duty in Iraq and two purple hearts as a United States Marine, Sgt. Shane Hannaford returned home to his family in Tulsa and to six months of unemployment.
Sgt. Hannaford applied for a variety of jobs, including bank teller, cable layer, security officer, and even minimum wage jobs with no success. Finally, he had to start his own business to make ends meet for his family.
“I am proud of service in the Marine Corps and wouldn’t change a thing about my service,” Hannaford said. “However, if our nation deploys troops into harms way the least that should be done is to ensure those same troops can provide for our families when we return home.”
Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, hopes to encourage Oklahoma companies to hire veterans like Hannaford with HB1064, which will require that companies must have at least ten percent of military veterans as their new hires in order to receive investment from the State of Oklahoma as part of the Quality Jobs Act.
“There are few higher duties we have as citizens than to ensure that those who protect our liberty are themselves able to provide for their families when they return home,” Proctor said. “It is my sincere hope that the legislature will be able to put our troops and their families before politics and any special interest groups who stand in the way of jobs for our veterans.”
Unemployment for veterans remains well above the national average and 300,000 troops are expected to return home each of the next four years as our forces are drawn down in Afghanistan. Given the numbers of returning service members, the unemployment rate for veterans is expected to rise.