Guest Author - Jeff Valentine
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) launched a report this week outlining unemployment numbers for Veterans. Surprise, surprise the Veterans with the highest unemployment rate are Veterans who have served since 2001.
The unemployment rate for this group of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans, known in the report, as “Gulf War Era-II”, stands at greater than 6%
What's Wrong With This Picture? -
It's time that we asked some of the tough questions:
1. Are Veterans NOT being hired at an increased rate because of their service?
2. Are Veterans NOT being hired because they may be called upon to serve again?
3. Does a stigma exist in the job arena concerned with hiring Veterans?
And from a different angle:
1. Are OIF/OEF Veterans not assimilating back into society at a normal rate?
2. Are OIF/OEF Veterans experiencing more PTSD and adjustment problems that don't allow them to hold down a job?
3. What's the best way to combat this problem?
The report doesn't answer any of these questions, per se, but it does outline some more disturbing figures.
-12% of 18-24 year old Veterans from Gulf War era-II were unemployed.
-16% of female Veterans of OIF/OEF were unemployed.
Hunting and pecking at the different numbers represented only serves to paint a specific picture. Yes, unemployment is higher in Vets than non-Vets. Yes, there are many reasons. No, there are no quick answers nor quick fixes.
The focus here is to bring the information to light and let you, the reader, come to your own conclusions. Maybe, just maybe, you might have an answer or two yourselves.
You could also do the following.
-> If you own your own business, you could make it your policy to hire a veteran or two.
-> If you know of job openings in the company where you work, maybe you could point a veteran in the right direction; or you could talk with your manager/supervisor about hiring more veterans.
-> Are you an organizer/networker? Think BIGGER and hold a Veterans Job Fair at your local Church, Community Center, Veteran’s Organization, etc. Invite local businesses needing employees and local veterans wanting employment to attend. Make “magic” happen.
All of you Veterans and friends of Veterans: Reach out and see what happens and you might be surprised; you might be surprised to find that the BLS statistics for 2008 are much, much lower.
Wouldn’t that be great?
This article is OVER but not OUT.
Don’t hesitate to continue the discussion over at the Veterans FORUM
-or- email me with a comment or suggestion.