A bill sponsored by Reps. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, to ease veterans’ transition to civilian careers advanced through the House Business & Labor Committee Thursday afternoon.

Many veterans experience difficulty adapting their skills to civilian careers. The unemployment rate among veterans is double that of the rest of the population, Lee’s office said in a press release.

“We’ve asked these military service members to sacrifice on behalf of their country,” Lee told the committee. “Now it’s time for the state to stand up and sacrifice a little bit on behalf of our veterans.”

HB16-1267 would set up a pilot grant program to develop and expand workforce development programs tailored to veterans. Programs eligible for grants from an $800,000 fund would offer skills training and job placement services.

“It pains me to hear that veterans return from military service and have trouble translating their skills into the civilian marketplace,” Fields said. “This is giving our veterans a hand-up.”  

The bill was sent to the Appropriations Committee on a 9-4 vote.