Unemployment Among New Veterans Remains Higher Than Average at 9.7%

Unemployment Among New Veterans Remains Higher Than Average at 9.7%

CONTACT: Hallie Seegal (212) 982-9699 or hallie@iava.org

Friday, October 5th, 2012
CONTACT: Hallie Seegal, press@iava.org

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Unemployment Among New Veterans Remains Higher Than Average at 9.7%

Presidential candidates fail to address negative veteran employment trend in domestic policy debate

NEW YORK-  Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports joblessness at 9.7% for post-9/11 veterans, holding at two percentage points higher than the rest of the country. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the nation’s largest, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing veterans of the two wars, is deeply concerned that without support or attention from top political leaders, our country’s 2.4 million troops are left unsupported to find meaningful employment as they transition home from service. In Wednesday’s debate, both presidential candidates neglected to address veterans issues on the whole, let alone this negative employment trend.

“Veteran joblessness was not mentioned once during Wednesday’s domestic policy debate, despite high unemployment numbers. Officially, almost 10% of all post-9/11 veterans were unemployed in September and, within that group, BLS reports that 19.9% of our female veterans are out of jobs,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “Not only are these numbers appalling, the government’s research on the veteran community is woefully inadequate. If we’re going to make progress on veteran unemployment, we need reliable data to provide effective support from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. But with one debate down and one month away from the election, we’ve yet to see any candidate demand real change for veterans.”

“Prior to Wednesday’s debate, IAVA released a voter guide to educate all Americans on the most pressing challenges facing Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. In the Vice Presidential debate coming up on Thursday, October 11, we urge Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan to address veteran employment and other critical issues like education, mental health care, VA reform and support for our female warriors. We’re prepared to ask the tough questions, and we’re going to the ballot box on November 6th expecting smart, committed plans.”

Before Election Day, IAVA calls on both parties to address the systemic issues creating barriers to veteran employment. Employment resources, such as the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), must be available to vets throughout their careers, not just at separation. The Uniformed Services Employment and Readjustment Rights Act (USERRA), a law designed to protect the jobs of Guardsmen and Reservists who juggle both civilian and military careers, must be strengthened and extended to federal, state and local governments. And, too many veterans are forced to retrain for the jobs they learned in the military because their licenses and certifications don’t translate to the civilian market. Arbitrary administrative red tape should never stand between veterans and jobs. For more recommendations on how elected leaders can best serve the needs of our New Greatest Generation, read IAVA’s Voter Guide here.

IAVA’s work has helped hundreds of veterans get back to work and find unemployment support after their service. Innovative job fairs with partnerships like Ad Week, career-training workshops in San Francisco’s Fleet Week, and partnerships with companies ranging from McKinsey to PIMCO are making a significant impact and establishing models for replication. For information about IAVA’s employment policy work, click here.

To arrange an interview with IAVA’s Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff, Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino or an unemployed IAVA Member Veteran, please contact us at (212)-982-9699 or press@iava.org.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the lives of our newest veterans and their families. Through innovative health, education, employment and community programs, IAVA strives to build an empowered generation of veterans who provide sustainable leadership for our country and their local communities. IAVA was recently awarded the highest rating – 4 stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. Learn more, get involved and join the over 200,000 Member Veterans and Civilian Supporters now at www.IAVA.org.


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