Employment agencies say it is has been a struggle for soldiers to find civilian jobs amid high unemployment and a changing hiring environment. But one organization has taken it upon itself to try to find jobs for veterans this holiday season, NBC affiliate 11Alive reports.
According to the news source, the national job fair Hiring our Heroes has helped many veterans find work upon returning home, however unfortunately for many, the struggle is still ongoing.
"I served over in Iraq for 3 tours and one tour in Kosovo and have almost 21 actual citations, ribbons and medals combined, but I am still trying to [secure] a job," said Christopher Jones, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
Jones' story is not unique, with many veterans sharing similar tales.
"I've been unemployed for so long its like I am at the point I want to try anything at this point. I have been seriously looking for a year and a half," said Beverly Andrews, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq. "With unemployment of veterans going as high as 27 percent even with the Job Fairs, getting a job isn't easy."
A brighter future
Hiring our Heroes aims to restore these veterans' hopes for civilian jobs by working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Labor the American Legion and NBC News. By raising awareness about the problem, these groups have helped 14,000 veterans find jobs since October.
"The reason why we come out is because they actually get you in front of employers more so than a computer online and they get a chance to see you face to face," Jones said.
The job search has been especially difficult for older veterans, the news provider stated. Tom McKennie, for example, served for 32 years, and has now been unemployed for 18 months.
Still, he said, this isn't going to keep him from trying his best to land a job.
The move to hire veterans is gaining traction around the country, with more than 100 large corporations pledging to bring on veterans in the coming months, according to News 4 Jacksonville.
Deutsche Bank and NPACT America, for example, say that hiring veterans is not only the right thing to do, but makes sound business sense.