Our veterans have left their limbs on the battlefield. Now that they are back their unemployment rates sometimes rise much higher than the national averages, especially for the under-24 year old segment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that while veterans as a group have about the same unemployment rate as Americans overall (about 8.3 percent), Gulf War Era II veterans (since 2001) averaged nearly 50 percent higher unemployment rates—12.1 percent in 2011. Still more startling and disturbing is the data showing that male veterans under the age of 24 had unemployment rates of 29 percent in 2011!
There are many reasons for this, including the epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). It's easy to underrate these emotional disorders. We were raised on a diet of John Wayne shooting up the bad guys and sleeping soundly. Clint Eastwood growls "Go ahead, make my day…" as he blows someone away.
That's all fantasy, at least for most well-adjusted people. The shock of danger, injury, and pain is real and long-lasting. There are no good treatment regimens.
Veterans2Work is one of the many non-profits and other groups attempting to re-integrate veterans into the workforce. John Reynolds, the founder of Veterans2Work, is a Viet Nam vet whose current passion is demonstrating to businesses how valuable service members can be to for-profit organizations. A key part of the story is that veterans develop virtuous habits, which carry over into their civilian jobs.
Reynolds was one of several veterans honored at the White House yesterday for his work.
Thanks to all our service members.