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Onorato Unveils ‘Soldiers to Honor Students’ Economic Development Initiative

Onorato Unveils ‘Soldiers to Honor Students’ Economic Development Initiative

Democratic gubernatorial nominee says plan will honor veterans, grow Pennsylvania’s economy

pittsburgh: Speaking at Pittsburgh’s historic Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato today outlined an economic development plan for Pennsylvania that honors the service of our veterans and returning service-members. “World War II veterans returned home and took advantage of the educational opportunities provided by the GI Bill to make America the greatest, most technologically advanced country in the world,” Onorato said. “What World War II veterans did for America, today’s veterans will do for Pennsylvania in the 21st Century.
“Young service men and women risk their lives for our nation’s security and when they return home, they have the potential to use their leadership skills as executives, innovators and entrepreneurs. By helping veterans earn their college degree and choose to make their future here in Pennsylvania, we honor their service while investing in our state’s economic future.”
As part of his focus on economic development, Onorato will launch the “Soldiers to Honor Students” initiative to ensure that returning service men and women are able to successfully transition to higher education. The plan includes:
Fast-tracking veterans’ admissions to Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher learning under the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills.

Working with the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs and Pennsylvania colleges and universities to streamline the transition from soldier to student by providing programs and services to veterans.

Making it possible for veterans to begin college upon acceptance and defer tuition payments if necessary so that bureaucratic delays by the Veterans Administration processing tuition benefits do not stop students from matriculating.
As Allegheny County Executive for nearly seven years, Onorato has worked to transform the region’s economy by helping to create jobs and encouraging business investment. Today, Allegheny County has an unemployment rate that is below both the state and the nation and more jobs than any other county in Pennsylvania.
Veterans have had an important role in Onorato’s economic growth policies. He launched a program to train returning veterans for jobs in welding in partnership with the Community College of Allegheny County, unions and local companies. And Onorato is leading an initiative to prepare veterans for the high-skill weatherization jobs that will be in high-demand as the Energy Economy grows.
“As Governor, I will show our veterans the respect they’ve earned by making sure the state lives up to its commitment to ensure their successful transition to careers after the military,” said Onorato. “When our veterans choose to live and work in Pennsylvania and build their careers here, it is a win-win for them and for our shared economic prosperity.”
In addition to the “Soldiers to Honor Students” initiative, the Onorato Veterans Policy will ensure that state government champions the needs of the 1.3 million Pennsylvania men and women who served our country by:
·         Keeping veterans’ pensions exempt from Pennsylvania State Income Tax.
·         Advancing employment opportunities for veterans, including through the state’s education and workforce development systems. He will also fight employment discrimination against members of the Guard, reservists and disabled veterans.
·         Supporting the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs and fighting to improve veterans’ care for poly-trauma vision impairment, mental health, prosthetics, spinal cord injuries and aging health issues.
·         Ensuring a seamless transition for military families re-entering the civilian environment and ensuring that services are coordinated to transition service-members from active duty to civilian life.
·         Combating homelessness among veterans. He will establish a “zero tolerance” policy for vets falling into homelessness through proven programs and services to prevent homelessness among veterans.

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