Veterans Still Fighting for Survival in Tough Job Market

Rebecca Newman attended two job fairs before getting hired at Verizon Wireless.

The transition from soldier to civilian is rough. It is even more difficult in a tough job market.


By Angela Johnson @CNNMoney


The unemployment rate for veterans who served since the 9/11 attacks peaked at a troubling 15.2% in January 2011. Since then, as the economy has improved and outreach efforts have taken hold, it has fallen by more than half to 7.2%.
But still, an estimated 160,000 men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are currently out of work, and many veterans face daunting challenges in their job hunts.
Some prospective employers look the other way because they think an applicant may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Many veterans, experts say, have a hard time explaining how their military experience can be valuable for civilian employers.
One of the efforts working to help overcome these obstacles and connect veterans and employers is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program.
Launched in March 2011, Hiring Our Heroes has hosted 560 job fairs and has placed 20,200 veterans and military spouses in jobs.
Rebecca Newman, a retired Air Force data management specialist, knows both sides of the story.
She had been looking for work for about five months when she attended her second Hiring Our Heroes job fair. She made her case to recruiters for Verizon Wireless: She talked about the skills she learned in the Air Force and made sure to note how the company’s organizational structure was much like the military’s.
About two weeks later, Verizon Wireless called and offered her a job in the company’s network security division.
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