Veterans Day: Time to Take Stock | DCR Workforce Blog

Veterans Day: Time to Take Stock

veterans-day-2013Today is Veteran’s Day.  Yesterday, I read that since 2001 more than 2.1 million men and women have returned to civilian life from the wars in the Middle East.  I recalled that last year, there was a great deal of focus on creating opportunities for veterans, and can’t think of a better time to assess the impact of that focus.  Simply put, have we made progress in providing career opportunities for U.S. veterans?  Fortunately, the answer is ‘yes’.

Let’s start with an examination of the numbers:

  • The veterans’ unemployment rate has dropped from 8.6 percent to 6.9 percent, which translates to a decline in the number of unemployed veterans by more than 220,000 since July 2012.
  • Veteran unemployment is low lower than the overall unemployment rate for all U.S. workers, which currently stands at 7.2%.
  • The jobless rate for veterans from 18 to 24 years of age is significantly higher at 19.5%.  While this number is unacceptable, it is down from 30% in 2011.  This high rate is due to their age as much as to their military status, as the overall unemployment rate for individuals in that age group without military service is 14.3%.

When presenting national figures, we must note that there are wide variations from state to state.  An analysis of jobless rates by state at the end of 2012 reflects the differences among some of the states with the largest veteran populations.

veterans jobless rate

Clearly, programs launched over the past few years are making a difference.

  • 34 states have acted in recent years to allow military training, education and experience to count toward occupational licenses.
  • More than a dozen states have launched programs in which veterans can translate military skills and experience into college credit.
  • In the “Troops to Trucks” programs, states waive the road skills test for commercial driver’s licenses for veterans who drove certain vehicles in the military.
  • “Helmets to Hardhats” is a nationwide program offering construction jobs to transitioning military members.  Many states use this program to target veterans for state infrastructure projects.
  • Some states allow military medics to be licensed as certified nursing aides or first responders without additional training after passing a written test.
  • Some states offer tax credits to private companies for each veteran hired.

The efforts of the private sector are also noteworthy.  Each year, G.I. Jobs publishes a list of companies with leading practices for recruiting and retaining military talent.  Thousands of companies compete to be included in the list of “Military Friendly Employers®”. This elite group hired more than 110,000 veterans within the last 12 months.

As we recognize the contributions of our veterans today, let’s keep in mind that one of the best ways to show our gratitude is to provide opportunities for returning veterans to use the skills developed in service to their country as the basis for successful civilian careers.

To learn more about programs available to assist veterans in transitioning to the private sector or pursuing entrepreneurial goals, please check out the blog on the Military Online Colleges website.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.