It’s becoming harder and harder to find jobs for ex military members.
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor found that young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans had an unemployment rate of 21.1 percent during 2009, which is higher than the 16.6 percent unemployment rate for 18 to 24-year-old non-veterans, and higher than the 14.1 percent unemployment rate for young veterans during 2008.
Veterans of all ages from recent wars had an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent during 2009. Younger veterans typically have more difficulty finding a job, because they often have less training and jobs experience, as many join the military immediately after high school.
The high veteran unemployment rate reiterates how tough it is for veterans to make a smooth transition to civilian life. This is in part because many of these veterans suffer from mental health problems, addictions and homelessness when they return home.
According to The Associated Press, many unemployed veterans are members of the Guard and Reserves who have deployed multiple times, and many companies are leery to hire someone who could deploy again or will have medical appointments because of war-related health problems.
“It’s a horrible environment because if you’re a reservist and you’re being deployed two or three times in a five-year period, you know you’re less competitive,” Joseph Sharpe, director of the American Legion’s economic division, said. “Many companies that are already hurting are reluctant to hire you and time kind of moves on once you’re deployed.”
There are many programs available through the Department of Labor and Department of Veterans Affairs that can help veterans get jobs, including one program that educates employers about how to work with veterans who have special needs.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill introduced last year is another tool experts hope will help veterans. The bill calls for $78 billion to be paid out during the next 10 years in education benefits for veterans of recent wars to attend school.