Newly introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate (S-1218) would increase agency obligations for hiring and career development of veterans.

The legislation would strengthen the level of advocacy for veterans’ employment at federal agencies by requiring veterans employment program offices with full-time staff and budgets at 24 of the largest federal departments and agencies; make permanent the interagency Council on Veterans Employment, an Obama administration creation to promote coordination among veterans employment offices across agencies; and require OPM to facilitate resource and information sharing among various agencies’ veterans employment program offices.

Sponsors said that while about 31 percent of federal employees are veterans–a percentage far higher than in the private sector–some agencies lag well behind, for example HHS at 7 percent and HHS at 12.

The bill also would expand veterans counseling and training programs to agencies beyond Labor, VA and DHS, and expand DoD’s SkillsBridge program. That program provides internships for transitioning servicemembers during their last six months of service, to include opportunities to intern at agencies across the federal government.