Veterans have the skills, but obstacles remain in finding jobs for military heroes

04.23.2013


Veterans have the skills, but obstacles remain in finding jobs for military heroes
Finding work for the nation's veterans.

Employers who have already hired veterans all laud their new workers for their maturity, responsibility, managerial experience and ability to handle just about any situation thrown their way. It's widely known that these soldiers-turned-civilians bring skills they learned in the military with them and can easily transfer them to a work setting. However, despite these accepted truths, there is still a sizeable gap between the unemployment rates of veterans and nonveterans. 

The most current estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics put overall unemployment at 7.6 percent, while post-9/11 veteran unemployment sits at 9.9 percent. According to the Harvard Business Review, this gap most likely exists because of a major difference in the culture of the military and U.S. businesses. Whether this is the terms and lingo used in the office or the differing ways in which achievements are recognized, there's a clear distinction in how each group operates. 

But despite these differences, veterans have proven over and over again that they can learn the way of U.S. businesses so long as they receive the chance to do it. One group, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), has even paired up with the Fullbridge Program to develop a training regimen that mirrors a bootcamp for business minds, which leaders say will be a great way to help soldiers make the leap into the civilian life. 

According to the news source, the training covers everything from common business language to skills in analysis, communication and valuation. Co-founders Peter and Candace Olson stated that the ultimate goal is to help veterans find a career and develop a path, rather than quickly finding a job that may not interest them. 

"Having spent 15 months in Afghanistan, I returned home with a significant traumatic brain injury (TBI)." said Nick Colgin, a former Army Airborne Medic who recently completed the training. "So it brings a whole different set of issues to an already complicated business world. Where I was unable to spell my own name or barely speak in 2008, I am now projecting revenue growth and cash flows in 2013."

Why hire veterans?
In addition to the skills veterans learn during their time in the military, many businesses are finding it can lead to major savings through tax credits. The White House recently released information on the tax incentives that exist for bringing veterans into the workforce.

"[M]any [veterans are] returning to the civilian workforce at a time when our economy, while making progress, is still healing from the Great Recession, [and] too many American heroes are struggling to find work," the White House announced. "This is a critical economic challenge that requires our long-term focus, especially as in the coming years over one million service members will be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning back to civilian life."

The incentives are a part of proposals found in the American Job Act, which offer credits that are at least twice as large as any that have previously been offered. These include the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which provides up to $5,600 to any business that brings a veteran on for the long-term. The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit provides as much as $9,600 to any organization that hires a veteran with a service-related disability. 

When the President recently announced his budget proposal, he stated that the fiscal 2014 budget will push for all of these tax credits to become permanent. 

Staffing companies have also been active in helping military heroes find their footing when they return from duty. These service members have been especially successful at finding jobs in the warehousing, distribution and logistics sector, as well as the manufacturing industry.

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