CLEVELAND — As soon as Brian Joseph graduated from high school he joined the Army, where he was trained in a series of jobs that seem to exist only in the military.
He was a multi-channel radio operator. Then he worked as a single-channel radio operator. Later, he worked as a psychological operations specialist, tailoring the U.S. war message to residents of Kosovo and, later, Iraq.
But since leaving the Army in 2008, Joseph has found that the rigorous training he gained during 18 years of military service means little to civilian employers.
“When somebody hears about the radio operator gig, they don’t immediately see a civilian application,” he said. “The same for psychological operations. It is really marketing, but they don’t know what it is, and the thing they associate it with is brainwashing.”
Joseph, 43, who has bounced in and out of jobs since returning home, is confronting a problem that is common among job seekers who have left the military in recent years.
Despite the marketing pitch from the armed forces, which promises to prepare soldiers for the working world, recent veterans are more likely to be unemployed than their civilian counterparts.
Veterans who left military service in the past decade have an unemployment rate of 11.7 percent, well above the overall jobless rate of 9.1 percent, according to fresh data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The elevated unemployment rate for new veterans has persisted despite repeated efforts to reduce it.
The latest to attempt it is the White House. In the jobs package President Obama has been promoting across the country is a tax credit of up to $9,600 for each unemployed veteran a company hires.
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