Veteran unemployment has been a longtime concern for the military and public alike, especially after the 1973 transition to an all-volunteer force. According to the Department of Labor, the overall unemployment rate of veterans since 2001 was 1.6 percent higher than those who did not serve.1 But for younger veterans the disparity was more drastic: The unemployment rate for male veterans between 18 and 24 was 8.5 percent higher than civilians of the same demographic.2 Even among veterans who find employment, approximately two-thirds report the transition as difficult and cite finding employment to be their greatest challenge.3 In an effort to help them find work, the “VOW To Hire Heroes Act of 2011” now requires all transitioning service members to attend an expanded and improved Transition Assistance Program (TAP) prior to separation.4 This policy reflects President Barack Obama’s 2011 commitment to prepare veterans for transition:
Better Than When They Came
The military needs a more comprehensive plan for assisting veterans seeking civilian employment, and that help should begin before they leave the service.
By Lieutenant Edward Wright, U.S. Navy