25 Oct X – U.S. Military Opportunities
A TO Z: 26 ISSUES TRANSITIONING VETERANS FACE #24
When entering service with the US government it is an opportunity to both serve your country freely and also position yourself for a great career within the military or externally once your enlistment is complete. Many employers appreciate the fact that an applicant is pursuing a position within their company, while others are leery about bringing someone on board that may have had traumatic experiences during their years of service or during a deployment down range in a foreign country. The question that looms large is how do we debunk the trend in America that former US soldiers are not fit for employment, especially with unemployment rates higher than what conceivable they should be?
In the most recent Department of Labor report the veteran population is comprised of 21.2 million men and women, accounting for about 9 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 18 and over in America with about 495,000 unemployed veterans from 2015 (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/vet.nr0.htm, 2016). That is 495,00 veterans who are willing and able to work that are searching for quality jobs. So how do we help all of our service men and women overcome the obstacles back home, that limits the success of those who have served, without having to rely on social services as a primary source of living means for one demographic over another? Especially since we are all Americans and deserve equal opportunity, regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, etc.
Some analysis will say that veterans are treated fairly and other will say they are not. Some organizations will advocate for better employment opportunities and others will continue to do just enough to meet a federal or state veteran hiring practice mandate. On paper it all looks good, but in reality some of our best prospects for innovation, growth, and profitability are caught up in the pool of applicants trying to swim upstream instead of down. It is not elevating veterans to a higher standard, rather it is doing the right thing for those who have sacrificed so much for our shared freedom in this country by providing adequate resources back on the home front.
If a veteran meets another veteran or a veteran supporter at the right place, at the right time, the process works perfectly. However, what happens when it does not go that smoothly? The truth is that not every veteran has the same experience upon leaving active service or during reserve duty, which can’t be overlooked in the grand scheme of things. This fact further complicates where opportunities are channeled to those with the right amount of knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet organizational needs from an employer’s perspective.
What can be worse is when a successful veteran has had opportunities and they look down on other veterans because they are not succeeding in the “way” they think it should be. This naive thinking further complicates the transition process for veterans as they move from being entrenched in a team environment, to a system of individual efforts mixed with assistance here and there to reach their personal and professional goals. We have to band as a society to maximum efforts and go from a singular focus or the “other person” will pick up the slack. When efforts are combined across regions of the country, extraordinary results can and will occur. There is no “I” in Team America, Right?