(a) The Legislature finds that West Virginia veterans represent a strong and productive part of the workforce of this state. They are frequently disadvantaged in their pursuit of civilian employment as a result of military service and delayed entry into the civilian labor market. It is, therefore, in the public interest and welfare that veterans continue to be provided the traditional priority of services in workforce development programs administered under the provisions of the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
(b) The purpose of this article is to require all federal and state funded employment and training programs offered within West Virginia to adopt a written policy providing priority of service to veterans of the United States Military over other individuals seeking employment and training services.
(a) "Eligible veteran" means a person who:
(1) Served on active duty and was discharged or released from active duty with an honorable discharge or because of a service connected disability;
(2) As a member of a reserve component under an order to active duty, served on active duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge or ribbon is authorized and was discharged or released from duty with an honorable discharge; or
(3) Served as a member of a National Guard or Reserve component and completed his or her military obligation and received an honorable discharge from the National Guard or Reserve component or was discharged from the National Guard or Reserve component because of a service connected disability.
(b) "Priority of service" means the right to priority in any employment or training program offered citizens of West Virginia which is funded, in whole or in part, through federal or state moneys.
(c) "Reserve component" means any branch of the military, including any military defense forces.
(d) "Training program" means a program that provides training leading to qualification for employment, or improved skills, or both, funded, in whole or in part, through the workforce investment act or another federal or state act administered through the state and having as its primary purpose workforce development.
(e) "Training provider" means any private or public entity which has been certified by competent authority to provide training funded by federal or state funds appropriated in the budget under the jobs training partnership act or another federal or state act having as its primary purpose workforce development.
For a veteran to receive a priority in services designation for a federal or state funded training program, the veteran shall first meet the eligibility criteria and qualifications of the specific program.
A veteran shall make application for a priority of services designation with the training provider by completing required documentation and identifying to the satisfaction of the training provider his or her eligibility in accordance with subsection (b), section two of this article.
An eligible veteran who has applied for and received a priority of services designation and who has otherwise met the eligibility criteria for employment training through a federal or state funded program shall be placed in a pool of eligible applicants, ordered on the date of eligibility. If both veterans and nonveterans are certified eligible on the same day, veterans shall be afforded priority in enrollment in the following manner:
(A) First priority shall be awarded to service-connected disabled veterans;
(B) Second priority shall be awarded to other eligible veterans;
(C) Third priority shall be awarded to nonveterans.
Provisions of this article shall be superseded by federal laws and regulations which are more stringent or which provide specific veterans preference or priority of service relative to administering employment and training programs.