VETERAN UNEMPLOYMENT RATE REMAINS HIGH
DALLAS – The president has challenged United States businesses to hire 100,000 veterans and their spouses by 2014. But it will take a lot more than that to make a dent in an unemployment rate for veterans that is stuck in double digits.
Staffing firms say veterans bring a lot to the table when it comes to employment. For the most part, they are dependable, loyal, dedicated and know the meaning of sacrifice.
The problem is many don’t know how best to showcase those qualities.
“It’s almost as if we have to fight another war just to get a job,” said Jimmy Jones, a veteran with multiple tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
Jones got out of the Air Force as a staff sergeant in 2008 after he was wounded in a convoy crash. He now suffers from a back injury and post traumatic stress disorder.
“Well why don’t you go be a police office? I’m 40 percent disabled,” he said.
Jones does not receive military disability pay and has been actively looking for a job for a year and a half.
“Ironically I have three employers that call me back saying you’re over qualified. We had to find somebody to kind of… almost to say you have to kind of dumb down your resume so you can work here. Amazing,” he said.
The Texas Veteran’s Commission says the state leads the nation in unemployed veterans. In 2009 it was helping 47,500 veterans find employment.
Chris Lawson runs a staffing firm that has helped place veterans in quality jobs. He said they too often short change their military skills.
“When I look at a resume and I see somebody that has served our country I consider that an honor and I’d like to see that at the top of the resume,” said Chris Lawson. “If you’ve got leadership experience in the military, managing two to 25 people, you’ve led, you’ve coached, you’ve trained and sometimes in life and death situations. And those, my gosh, are transferable skills for sure.”
There are a number of resources available to veterans in North Texas looking for employment.
Texas Veteran Commission www.tvc.state.tx.us
Texas Veterans Portal www.texas.gov/en/veterans/
Texas Workforce Commission Veteran Leadership Program www.twc.state.tx.us/tvlp/tvlp.html