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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Experts Meet to Address Veterans Unemployment

  • September 29, 2011
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A panel of industry and labor experts from the private sector and government met this week at an event sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute and the Military Officers Association of America to discuss how they can collectively address the high unemployment rates among veterans according to the Navy Times.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the overall veterans’ unemployment rate is hovering at almost 10 percent.  For Iraq and Afghanistan veterans ages 18 to 24, the unemployment rate is estimated to be almost triple that, approaching 30 percent.

The panel of government experts discussed the roles of various groups in assisting unemployed veterans.  Ismael Ortiz, the Labor Department’s deputy assistant secretary for veterans’ employment and training services, stated that veterans are not being hired partly because the private sector is unfamiliar with their capabilities.  According to retired Marine Lt. Col. Kevin Schmiegel, the Defense Department must do a better job of preparing veterans for private-sector employment.  In addition, Schmiegel affirmed the role of defense communities, stating that they must take the lead in career mentoring.

The Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Labor Department’s Veterans Employment and Training Service to host 100 job fairs across the country to engage large corporations, small businesses and veteran-owned companies on hiring veterans.

On the private sector side, CACI, a Virginia-based defense contractor, discussed how they were teaming up with various military transition programs to hire service members with skills that align with the company’s mission.  As a result of their efforts, approximately 3-4% of CACI’s personnel are veterans.

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