Supporting Veterans Returning to Civilian Life
Memorial Day is about remembering those members of our Armed Services who died in military service. One way to honor their sacrifices is to support their comrades-in-arms who return home from the service to civilian life.
What’s the data?
According to the American Council on Education, we can expect about 1.5 million veterans to make the transition from active duty to civilian life over the next 3-5 years, a nearly 30% increase over the normal rate of return. Many of these veterans will be aged 20-24, the youngest cohort of veterans to enter the workforce post-9/11. This group is particularly vulnerable to joblessness, in today’s educational economy, where 7.3% percent of Millennials without college degrees are unemployed.
Veterans aged 24 and above have a much lower unemployment rate, 4.3%, which is even lower than the national 4.9% average. This may be because they’ve had more time to take advantage of their benefits under the GI Bill and earn a degree online while enlisted. However, 48% of the veterans in this age range go extended periods without employment after they are discharged, meaning that this demographic has a much more difficult time initially making the transition to civilian life. This factsheet from The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a torrent of information on current stats for veterans.
How can you help?
Stay informed about government services like the Veteran’s Association, which has an excellent website offering all kinds of assistance to veterans returning to work. There’s also the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation which founded an initiative called Hiring our Heroes. Launched in 2011, this initiative’s mission is to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. They’ve held over 1,025 job fairs for veterans and military spouses to find employment, thanks to a two-step method of grassroots engagement and public-private partnership. Consider participating if one of these fairs is taking place near you.
Another method of helping is for business owners to run workshops and classes for veterans. One of their biggest barriers to employment is the interview process. It can be difficult for veterans to effectively translate their field service into language that conveys their years of skills and experience to a hiring authority. Not to mention, the creation of a resume can be a daunting task. Offering this type of education to veterans is an excellent way to show your support for America’s veteran population.
Take a moment today and do something small. Share a link or register to volunteer. Veterans deserve lasting respect for the initiative and valor they’ve engaged to protect and serve our country.