Helping Veterans Get Back to Work


by Dr. Woody


On this Memorial Day, I’d like to honor the military personnel who have risked their lives for our freedom by dedicating this article to the employment of veterans.

As we remember the fallen heroes who helped make this country great, it’s also important to keep in mind those heroes who have returned home and need our support. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 837,000 veterans unemployed in this country. When it comes to young veterans, the department reports that more than one out of every four veterans between the ages of 20 and 24 are unemployed. Considering the national unemployment rate is currently at 9%, these are disappointing numbers and they are likely to get worse as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to wind down.

Veterans face two major challenges: the ease of transferring their skills into civilian opportunities and a general lack of understanding by civilian employers about the value of veterans’ experiences. For example, a combat medic can’t come back to the U.S. and work as an emergency medical technician or even drive an ambulance. Similarly, a military aircraft mechanic can’t come back and get work maintaining a private jet. Veterans have to start all over and go through the education and certification processes required by law and in some cases, the professional organizations that govern each industry. As ridiculous as this sounds, it’s an incredible hurdle for veterans to overcome, particularly in these troubled economic times.

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