Magazine article VFW Magazine

Job Outlook Improves for Young Vets

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Job Outlook Improves for Young Vets

Article excerpt

The unemployment rate for vets in their early 20s recently dropped. But it's still higher than the rate for their civilian counterparts. by Tim Dyhouse

The jobless rate for young vets hit a peak last year. It topped out at 15.6%-the highest since the start of the Afghanistan War-for 20- to 24-year-old veterans. The unemployment rate for their civilian counterparts in 2005 was 8.7%.

Some recently discharged veterans say those numbers are not surprising.

"I've been flooding the market with applications and resumes, but every job I go for, they want someone with a bachelor's degree or a master's degree or more experience than I have," said 23-year-old Iraq vet Army Spc. Sameer Bartlett, in a June Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

But news from the U.S. Department of Labor in July was encouraging. Labor statistics show the unemployment rate for vets 20-24 through the first quarter of 2006 had dropped to 11%, and was 8% for civilians in that age bracket.

"We have been working hard to reach out to both vets and employers, and we are delighted that these efforts are paying off," said Chick Ciccolella, head of the Labor Department's Veterans Employment and Training Service.

The Labor Department can't take all the credit, however. A number of job placement services exist that focus specifically on matching vets with jobs.

The VFW-co-owned Vetjobs.com boasts that it has helped more than 35,000 vets find employment since its inception in 1999.

"We currently have some 85,000 vets registered on our site, and have had about 7,000 employers registered since we started," said Ted Daywalt, CEO and president of Vetjobs. "At any one time, we will have about 400 employers actively seeking to hire veterans."

Daywalt disputes Labor's unemployment rate of 11% for young vets, saying it's probably closer to 6%-7% and, therefore, lower than the civilian rate.

"Labor's numbers include things like vets who go straight to college after discharge, which is obviously not the same thing as being unemployed," he said. …

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