Recent veterans face high unemployment and barriers to jobs

October 25, 2012 at 10:47 am 1 comment

The national unemployment rate is at 7.8 percent, but for he almost 243,000 recent veterans (those who  have served since 2001) in the U.S., the unemployment rate is at 9.7 percent.  For some segments of the veterans population, it is much higher. As reported by the Greensboro News & Recorder:

For veterans, ages 20 to 24: 14.5 percent (12.1 percent for nonveterans).

For black veterans: 14.6 percent (12.5 percent for nonveterans).

For female veterans: 19.9 percent (7 percent for nonveterans).

In North Carolina, the veterans unemployment is at 8.3 percent. As the News & Record points out, although the nation as a whole has been struggling with high unemployment after the recession, getting jobs has been particularly difficult among veterans.

Still, being in the military isn’t the career it once was. Federal studies place the average retention rate between four and eight years, mostly because soldiers enter wanting to take advantage of the GI Bill. Once discharged, they’re finding the education and training they earned don’t immediately translate into a paycheck.

Although soldiers learn valuable skills in a range of areas while they are training and deployed, because of the way professional certifications work, they are often unable to use those skills in jobs when they are back home. Last night’s episode of The Daily Show featured two recent veterans, who were trained combat medics, and their struggle to translate their medical training to civilian jobs.

There are efforts to help veterans find jobs and build their lives when they’re back home. The Hire at Home Act would allow veterans to use their skills and training to find civilian jobs without having to go through re-certifications.

The HIRE at Home Act would streamline the state certification process making it easier for service members to utilize skills they have acquired in the military to find jobs in their communities. For example, someone who is trained by the military as truck driver or nursing assistant would not have to waste time and money on redundant trainings to do the same job at home. By allowing military training in a comparable field to count toward certification in the private sector, it will help veterans get back to work more quickly, making the transition to civilian life that much easier.

Clearly, our returning soldiers have gained valuable training– and have had to implement their skills in highly stressful and dangerous situations. It is only fair that these experiences are honored when they come back home. Ensuring that military and civilian certifications align, and that the skills are transferable, would be an important first step.

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Entry filed under: Economic Development, Economy, Jobs & Employment. Tags: , , .

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