The unemployment numbers have leveled off at 9.7% — certainly a lukewarm sign at best for the country by any measure. Particularly for veterans, reentering the workforce is a challenge. Male veterans between ages 18 and 24 have a nearly 22 percent unemployment rate, according to the Labor Department.
PRI’s The World reports on a group of vets in Wisconsin who are having trouble finding work since returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Wisconsin veterans aren’t alone, but new programs and opportunities are trying to make a difference for veterans around the country. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Program recently announced a $2 million grant competition to help vets get jobs in the growing field of renewable and sustainable energy.
The green jobs blog Intelligent Energy Portal reports:
[The] grants are intended to provide services to assist in reintegrating eligible veterans into meaningful employment within the labor force and to stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems that will address the complex employability problems facing eligible veterans.
In West Virginia, job fairs are introducing recently returned veterans to new kinds of careers. West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports:
Derek Brown is the vocational rehabilitation officer for the VA. He says it can be tough for veterans to figure out how to find a job.
“I think it’s a unique challenge, in the military it’s a lot different for employment you get assigned from one assignment to the next assignment it’s not like you really go out and interview for a job,” Brown said.
The PBS News Hour’s Patchwork Nation analyzes military communities around the country. In Hampton Roads, Va., the GI Bill has increased college enrollment in one local college and is working to put students on career tracks that have high employment rates:
Compared with other TCC [Tidewater Community College] students, those on the GI Bill are taking more career and technical programs such as in information systems technology. A higher percentage are on the transfer track, meaning they will move on to a four-year college.