NBCUniversal and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Launch Website for Vets

NBCUniversal and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched “Next Steps for Vets” yesterday, a website hosted by NBCNews.com that aims to help veterans find employment and further education through various resources like a guide to starting small businesses, job fair maps, a resume tool, and more, according to NBCUniversal. Read more.

What We’re Reading: Week 10

By Rachel Leingang, News21

What We’re Reading, Week 10:

For Combat Veterans, Life During Ice Time (Jerry Barca, 7/17, New York Times): The Fort Bragg Patriots, an amateur hockey team, is made up of post-9/11 active-duty combat veterans. They use their time on the ice to relax and forget about their time at war, and they bond over their shared experiences overseas.

Marine officer: Scope of sex assault problem exaggerated (Jim Michaels, 7/15, USA Today): Marine Corps Capt. Lindsay Rodman, who now works as a lawyer at the Pentagon, said the military’s sexual assault issues have been exaggerated. She called the Pentagon’s 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault survey into question, saying exaggerating the numbers doesn’t help the military address the core problems.

No veterans need apply? (Lisa Nagorny and Dan Pick, 7/15, American Legion): The Center for a New American Security conducted a survey of employers, asking them why veterans are unemployed at higher rates than civilians.

This is the way to return to your family from Afghanistan (Breach, Bang, Clear, 7/18): This heartwarming video shows how one soldier surprised his wife and kids upon his return from Afghanistan.

Veterans unemployment rate continues to fall

By Riley Johnson, News21

The overall employment picture for post-9/11 veterans continued to improve as the unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday.

At 7.2 percent, the June unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans dropped one-tenth of a percentage point from May.

Unemployment was higher, however, among women than men in June and highest yet among the youngest veterans, those 24 and under. Among that group of post-9/11 veterans, unemployment continues to hover above the non-veteran rate by four percentage points at 20.5 percent.

Art Burrola, program director at the Kino Veterans’ Workforce Center in Tucson, Ariz., said he has seen employment improve for younger veterans lately.

The center serves more than 200 veterans a month, Burrola said, about 40 percent of whom are post-9/11 veterans. More employers are hiring veterans, Burrola said, and he thinks national efforts to reduce veteran unemployment are working.

“It’s good for vets,” he said of the veteran employment situation. “It’s never going to be perfect for anybody.”

The five months mark the longest streak since the bureau started collecting data on veterans whose service in Iraq and Afghanistan came after 2001.

Overall, the economy grew by 195,000 jobs as unemployment held steady at 7.6 percent, the BLS reported.

Army Reserve officer faces yearlong unemployment

By Colton Totland, News21

With decades of military experience in areas that ranged from human resources to supply and logistics, Scott Hargrove seemed qualified for the civilian job market.

The former Chief warrant officer four left the Army Reserve in June 2012 when his veterans outreach job was eliminated. The Vietnam era volunteer found himself unemployed after 40 years of military life. His yearlong search for work has been frustrating.

“You’d like to think that wealth of experience is something that employers would jump on,” Hargrove said. “I just don’t like being out of work.”

Hargrove, 60, represents a unique demographic among unemployed post-9/11 veterans, most of whom are younger and much less experienced. The highest unemployment rate among veterans is in the 20-24 age range, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For April, it was at 17.7 percent.

Hargrove said employers are discouraged from hiring veterans because of confusion about what military experience actually means.

“We use acronyms in the military all the time. You need to take your military resume and convert it over to English; you have to put it into civilian terms,” he said.

Veterans and reservists visit the Arizona Army National Guard center in Phoenix. The facility offers career services for service members, notably resume-building advice on how to translate military jargon. (Photo by Colton Totland, News21)

Veterans and reservists visit the Arizona Army National Guard center in Phoenix. The facility offers career services for service members, notably resume-building advice on how to translate military jargon. (Photo by Colton Totland, News21)

Hargrove in early June visited a National Guard center in Phoenix for advice on his resume. Since 2011, new public and private organizations have offered career services for veterans. Hargrove has attended more than a dozen job fairs, he said. None has yielded desirable job offers.

“There’s a lot of veterans groups trying to help; in many cases, it’s almost overwhelming,” Hargrove said. “It’s just that there are so many initiatives. It would be nice if there were fewer organizations all doing the same thing.”