Veterans are having trouble finding work

Veterans are having trouble finding work

Young veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having trouble finding work, proved by the annual report released Friday from the Labor Department.

The unemployment rate for veterans age 18 to 24 was 20.9% in 2010. That’s a discouraging number, though it’s down slightly from 2009, and is just a few points above the 17.3% rate for nonveterans the same age.

Last fall, I discussed veteran unemployment on “The Takeaway.” I found one survey fascinating: Out of 429 employers, 98% thought vets would bring a strong sense of responsibility to the job, and 92% thought vets have strong leadership skills. But the same survey found that 46% of employers worry post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues will pose a challenge.

It’s that kind of ambivalent attitude among employers that can make finding a job difficult for veterans. Senator Patty Murray, the chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, told the Washington Post this week that vets have told her they often remove their military experience from their resumes, worried employers won’t consider them because of possible PTSD.

No one should have to erase valuable job experience from their resume. But the experts I talked to did say veterans should cut the military jargon, and make clear to potential civilian employers how their skills will transfer to a new workplace. One place to start is Military.com’s Military Skills Translator, a free online tool that lets you plug in your specific military job and suggests civilian jobs with similar skill sets.

Tell me your thoughts: How can we help veterans get hired?

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