Updated Wed, Feb 8, 2012 5:05 am
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has formed a bipartisan group that will work to reduce the unemployment rate of the nation's 857,000 veterans currently looking for work.
The West Virginia Democrat and Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk announced Tuesday the formation of the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus.
Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, both Democrats, also have joined the caucus.
The senators say it's important to focus on the needs of veterans who are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Objectives include developing "I Hire Veterans" programs within the Senate and among local, state and national employers; holding monthly events to share information on hiring initiatives, and working with constituents, government and service organizations to monitor veterans' employment issues.