By: Lauren Sutphin

For some veterans their biggest concern may not be what the next deployment will bring, but the possibility of no more deployments and a lack of income. The high overall unemployment rate in this country is well documented; what is not as well documented is the even higher unemployment rate among our veterans. A recent blog post by Maura McCarthy, the research director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, cited an August report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which showed that the unemployment rate for veterans was a striking 10.9%. Compare this with the national unemployment rate of 8.1%, and it becomes obvious that today’s veterans face a dire situation. This plight is not likely to dissipate in the coming years, as the US military is actively making significant reductions in troop numbers. This drawdown of the military will mean tens of thousands of troops will now become civilians with many of them looking for civilian employment.

This situation is a concern for every citizen in the United States. Not only does the veterans plight weigh heavy on our minds, but in order to attract the best qualified individuals to our military branches there has to be some incentive. Certainly a higher unemployment rate for veterans is not a great incentive. Besides encouraging hiring managers and small business owners to hire veterans there must be something else civilians can do. Every civilian is encouraged to bring whatever skills they have to the table to help our veterans. Anything from volunteering to helping veterans create resumes, to doing mock interviews, to helping in the actual job search. There are also formal organizations in which civilians can become involved. Organizations such as American Corporate Partners gives civilians the opportunity to mentor a veteran for a year. American Corporate Partners matches veterans with civilian corporate professionals who help them identify their goals and create and implement an action plan to achieve those goals.

The government is also stepping up for our veterans. The Department of Labor has a great website www.dol.gov/vets/. On this site veterans can find help locating training and employment, and employers can research veteran hiring initiatives and find qualified veterans for employment. This site also contains information about the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) program. The Department of Veterans Affairs also details the VOW to Hire Heroes Act at www.benefits.va.gov. The VOW program can help veterans who are going through the PEB process begin planning for the transition to civilian life. VOW also offers the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, for veterans who are at least 35 and no more than 60 years old, which gives the veterans 12 months of training assistance. The VOW Act also provides incentives to businesses who employ veterans.

To maintain our elite fighting forces we have to promote a smooth transition from military to civilian life. The current unemployment rate of our veterans is unacceptable, but with civilian volunteers and programs like those listed above we can provide our veterans the best possible transition to civilian life.

 

To read the blog referenced above visit, http://iava.org/blog/new-veteran-unemplyment-rises-109-august.

One Response to “Veteran’s Unemployment and the Looming Drawdown of US Troops”

  1. Bill Murray said:

    Lauren ,

    Spot On -Great article. I am working with a rapidly expanding company that help vets navigate the waters of college, internships, jobs and eventually careers. We are looking for corporations to sponsor veterans programs and also provide internships. We are working with colleges in the NY area and enjoying some success. Love to talk with you about our efforts.

    Bill Murray,
    Colonel USMC (ret)
    Director: Four Block