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JEC Releases New Report Detailing High Unemployment Faced by Young Veterans

May 24 2012

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), chaired by U.S. Senator Bob Casey(D-PA), released a new report showing that  the  nation's youngest veterans (ages 18-24) face an unemployment rate of more than 30 percent, nearly double the unemployment rate facing non-veterans the same age.

The report entitled, “Memorial Day 2012: Combatting High Unemployment Among Young Veterans,” also shows that the unemployment rate for men and women who have served since the attacks of September 11, 2001 is significantly higher than the unemployment rate facing non-veterans and  higher than the unemployment rate experienced by veterans from other wars.

“After serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is unacceptable that brave men and women face another battle when they return - finding a civilian job,” said Chairman Casey. “This report should serve as a wakeup call that the federal government must do more to ensure our returning heroes can find good jobs when they come home.

Many young veterans likely joined the military right out of high school or after turning 18, without having gone to college. The state of the job market following the Great Recession has increased competition for jobs among Americans with a variety of skill sets and education levels. In addition, many young servicemembers joined the military without substantial civilian work experience, so they lack experience in conducting a job search, submitting resumes or going on interviews. For all veterans, there is the additional challenge of translating their military training and experience into relevant civilian work experience.

Currently, young veterans without a college degree have greater access to job training and education through benefits provided in the new G.I. Bill. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 requires that the Departments of Labor and Veteran Affairs provide services such as resume building and help in translating military skills into civilian work experience. Additionally, Chairman Casey recently introduced legislation, the Servicemembers’ Access to Justice Act, which would ensure that employers promptly reinstate members of the National Guard and Reserves when they return home.

Chairman Casey continues, “Our veterans have learned extremely valuable skills that would make them tremendous assets to any workplace. It is vital that the Departments of Defense and Labor explore ways of tailoring existing transition programs to meet the unique challenges facing these young veterans,”

The report also includes unemployment rates for Post-9/11 veterans in each state.

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