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From Battlefield to Workplace

Veterans struggle to find jobs.

Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars showed courage and faced challenges every moment in their tours of duty. Sadly, some veterans face an equally tough battle at home. While the country gradually recovers from the economic down turn, many of our veterans are struggling to find meaningful employment.

According to Veteran Business Institute, veteran unemployment is 30 percent higher than the overall U.S. unemployment average, and veterans who do find jobs earn between $6,000 and $10,000 less per year than their civilian counterparts. This is a shameful reality to the men and women who have applied their talents and skills and displayed bravery in defense our country.

Unemployment has hit hardest for the younger Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who may have signed up with Uncle Sam right out of high school, and therefore often have less training and job experience than older veterans. But regardless of age, some vets who have honorably served return to find that in this competitive economy, their companies have closed or their jobs have simply evaporated.

It is troubling that a returning vet’s training and skills applied on the battlefield are often not seen as transferrable to the company’s needs. Vets are continually faced with the challenge of educating employers about how their discipline, teamwork and character building experiences in the service will provide substantial value in the workforce. Soldiers are trained to be leaders and understand the importance of working on a team toward a common goal. They know what it means to be accountable in the fullest sense. Their “calm under fire” experience enables them to handle the daily stresses in a work environment. Veterans develop a global perspective that can be an asset in business.  

Beyond the diverse set of skills and talents a veteran can bring to an organization, federal tax benefits are available through the ”Work Opportunity Tax Credit “(WOTC) to employers who hire unemployed veterans within one year of having been discharged or released from active duty. Additional credits are available for hiring disabled veterans.

On a positive note, there are many resources and initiatives to help veterans find job search information and employment opportunities. Monster has partnered with several veteran organizations to list resources and post jobs on Veteran Employment (www.veteranemployment.com).  The Philadelphia U.S. Veterans Affairs Department serves veterans from the tri-state area, offering training and employment tools.

 In our area, there are many employers, including the Abington Target, PECO, Comcast and Bristol Meyers Squibb, who regularly recruit veterans. The federal government has also been a strong force in recruiting veterans.

We all share a responsibility in supporting our vets to make a healthy transition back into civilian life. Work is one of the most basic ways imaginable that veterans can continue to contribute to society, and experience the rewards of using their talents and skills.

If you know an unemployed veteran, make sure he or she is taking advantage of all available resources, and be sure to welcome the veteran home and thank the person for a job well done.

hornet96 May 29, 2011 at 08:29 PM
We should take care of these heroes. Today's young MBA mangers have no idea what these people have been through. If they did they would hire them in a heartbeat. I thank all current and former veterans for their service.
ExVet May 29, 2011 at 09:07 PM
While their fighting for our freedom, the government is fighting to give illegals their jobs when they get back!
Michael Petty May 30, 2011 at 04:59 AM
This is tragic but many people will respond by saying that they are deadbeats. America has become a vicious society in its fear of socialism yet ironically TARP introduced socialism for the rich, socialized losses and private profits. And American industry exports jobs to socialist China, with the wholehearted cooperation of those Americans who want to reduce support for the troops.
smc coll May 30, 2011 at 09:26 AM
The problems there is too many loopholes for the governemtn HR's can use and there is allot og anti veterans sediment in these offices, espcially if your enlisted and a women. What even worse because NPRC is loosing our medical records, so it makes it hard to get you claim solved because the VA says no reocrds no claim approval even if the governemtn admitss losing your medical records. There is no law that protects veterans from the government incompitence. I have been waiting 5 years because NPRC lost my medical records and the VA just says to bad wait inlien for the VA board of appeals.
Walter Matthews June 01, 2011 at 09:34 PM
We need to do more to help our vets get jobs. We need to rally around our soldiers. http://www.crunchbase.com/person/robert-kotick

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