Before Romney Speech, Legion Convention Focused On Jobs

It's the first time in almost two decades that Indianapolis will host the convention.

American Legion

Photo: Joseph (Flickr)

An American Legion post in Washington, IN. Officials say soldiers have faced a language barrier of sorts when returning to the workforce.

The American Legion‘s national convention returns today to its headquarters city of Indianapolis, for the first time in 17 years. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will address the Legion on Wednesday. But before the convention turns to politics and policy, the focus will be on jobs.

There‘s a veterans‘ job fair Saturday, a day after a workshop aimed at helping veterans craft their resumes. The Legion‘s Craig Roberts says unemployment among veterans is double the national rate, in part because of a communications gap between veterans and civilians as vets try to transition back into everyday life.

Roberts says there can literally be a language barrier, with veterans losing out on jobs because they fall into military jargon that human relations officers don‘t understand. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki addresses the convention on Tuesday, the first of three days of floor action after four days of breakout sessions. Shinseki is expected to update the Legion on the department‘s announced goal of ending homelessness among veterans in five years.

Roberts says that effort is three years in and has cut the homelessness rate by 1/8, but says the programs to achieve more significant reductions are now in place. And he says the five-year goal was probably ambitious to start with. The Legion will vote on dozens of policy resolutions, including one opposing the deep defense cuts set to take place January 1 as the penalty for the collapse of a deficit deal last year. Roberts calls that Legionnaires‘ top policy concern this year.

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