With the Iraq War over and the Afghanistan conflict winding down, veteran unemployment has been a hot-button issue for politicians and veteran organizations.
The national unemployment rate consistently hovers at nine percent, as veteran unemployment rates are typically three points higher. Total veteran unemployment was 12.1 percent in November of 2011. It’s even higher in younger veterans. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans 18 to 24 had a 30.4 percent jobless rate in October 2011.
Hoping to buck this trend, President Barrack Obama signed into law The VOW to Hire Heroes Act. The legislation incentives employers to hire vets with tax credits up to $9,600.
As outlined in this American Sentinel Blog Post, “New Vet Jobs Bill Opens Up Business Employment for Veterans,” this legislation will improve the military members chances to find jobs. But, some believe it’s not enough.
Huffington Post blogger Chris Hellie believes the American mindset toward veterans needs to be changed.
“We remain timid and indecisive when it comes to hiring veterans. Why? Over the course of the past decade thousands of veterans have graduated from the nation’s foremost trade and professional schools, yet veteran unemployment remains stubbornly high. There is no excuse for this and we are essentially committing fratricide here on the home front,” Hellie wrote in It’s Time to Tackle Veteran Unemployment. “To be clear, I’m not proposing a coerced ‘Hire Vets First’ campaign, but rather highlighting our failures to this community, which should be an influential and emergent network — but instead slogs along as a yet underrepresented, fractured and unconnected population.”
Many tech bloggers and professionals believe veterans are actually the perfect hire in technology fields.
“IT departments are finding that recruiting an employee who can show up on time, demonstrate leadership or be a team player and, most of, all be highly motivated, is pretty tough. From the stories I hear, the labor pool is full of slackers,” wrote Wayne Rash on eWeek.com.
Rash said instead of seeking usual tech slackers, employers should seek highly trained, highly motivated veterans without jobs. “Military service has become a rare thing in the United States, and few understand what those people do, beyond carrying a rifle,” he wrote.
The good news is the hiring agencies agree.
General Electric Co. plans to hire 5,000 veterans over the next five years. Google, Microsoft and Seagate have all created similar goals to hiring veterans for tech jobs.
Google even created a veteran job search engine with the White House.
The Veterans Job Bank connects veterans with employers by bringing jobs listings directly to veterans—instead of the other way around—via a search widget that provides a single window into the myriad job boards, social media platforms, and corporate employment sites that are currently spread across the Internet.
The support has received overwhelming applauds from the major veteran organizations. Perhaps Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American president Rieckhoff said it best: “As Congress stalls on so many other issues, it’s good to see them come together in realizing that one of the smartest investments they can make is supporting the New Greatest Generation.”