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May 22, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Veteran unemployment high: Critical programs provide resources

VetForHire300x195Memorial Day is on May 26th, and it’s a day to honor the memory of veterans who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s also a day to show appreciation for the current and past servicemen and women who work so hard to keep us safe.

While a military lifestyle is tough, transitioning back to civilian life after being discharged can be equally difficult. Veteran unemployment, for example, is far too prevalent in the United States.

The unemployment rate for the 2.8 million veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces since September 2001 – a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans – was 8.8 percent for men and 9.6 percent for women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the 3.2 million veterans who served during Gulf War-era I (August 1990 to August 2001), male unemployment was 5.7 percent and female unemployment was 5.3 percent.

Unemployment varies from state to state, with New Jersey having the highest rate at 10.8 percent. As a veteran myself (former Air Force reserve), it’s particularly disheartening to learn about these high rates of unemployment for men and women who have proudly served our country.

This Memorial Day, and every day throughout the year, we should give thanks to veterans for their service. To help make a difference and reduce veteran unemployment, please support critical organizations and programs that boost veteran employment and help soldiers transition to the civilian working world. Here are some of my favorites:

Feds Hire Vets

This site provides veterans and their families a one-stop resource for finding employment with the federal government. It is also a great resource for hiring managers looking to learn about the many benefits that come from hiring veterans for federal jobs.


This career center provides everything veterans need to start a civilian career. From expert advice on resume building and interviewing skills, to career coaching and help applying for jobs, this site is indispensable.

My Next Move for Veterans

Thinking about which civilian career is right for you? This research tool provides information about comparable skills and salary as well job listings in a format that is easy to navigate.

Gold Card

A joint effort of the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), this initiative provides unemployment assistance to post-9/11-era veterans.


Founded by a veteran, the site was created to support job search and success for all members of a military family, including enlisted and active-duty members, reservists, National Guard, spouses and dependents of soldiers.

National Resource Directory

To find additional programs and organizations that provide support to veterans as they search for employment or as they face other common challenges – such as rehabilitation, community reintegration and housing assistance – visit the NRD website.


  1. Glenn Mandelkern / May 27 2014 7:48 pm

    Radio is one of my favorite means of advertising and staying informed.

    IHeart radio frequently airs spots naming companies who have hired veterans. These are very uplifting. The featured veteran explains how skills obtained in the military readily transferred to commercial employers, especially some with recognizable household names from banks to retailers.

    Helping and encouraging returning veterans to new jobs is the least we can do for them. They do so much to make sure we enjoy our freedoms, including the pursuit of happiness through finding work. The least we can do is make their return to the society we treasure as effortless as possible.

    • Stephanie Anderson / May 28 2014 9:29 am

      Glenn, we couldn’t agree more. The unemployment rate of our veterans is unfortunate and far too high. Not only have they served our country and made sacrifices (as have their families), they have valuable skills that should make them attractive to employers. We need to support them indeed. Thanks for your comment!

      Steph Anderon

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