Three years after the recession has officially ended, the economy is struggling with an unchanging 8.2 percent unemployment rate. Weak hiring practices by U.S. employers at only 80,000 jobs during the month of June proves that the U.S. is, as the New York Times reports, “far from the booming job growth that prevailed only a few months ago.”
Although June unemployment numbers look better for veterans, dropping to 9.5 percent from 12.7 percent during May, the Army Times notes that the change could be a “statistical fluke” because the DOL’s report is “based on a survey of about 200,000 people, of whom just 22,000 are veterans.”
The House of Representatives passed the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act late last night which will require the federal government to qualify military training for purposes of civilian licenses and certifications which are issued and controlled by the federal government. This is a critical step in ensuring that veterans successfully transition and utilize the important skills they’ve learned from the military in the civilian workforce. Under provisions of the bill, veterans would qualify for more than 70 positions that require licenses or certifications, such as energy, maritime, and aerospace sectors. The bill will now move on to the Senate, which has a similar version of the bill.
The switch from military to civilian workforce can be challenging. Veterans can be unsure about how to apply for and how to interview for a job, and employers are often wary of seeing a lack of civilian work experience. Employers and veterans both are unclear on how skills utilized in the military can translate into a different work environment. The Veterans Skills to Jobs Act is a critical step in easing this transition and opening up doors for veterans to access civilian jobs. It also serves to aid employers in understanding the employability of veterans.
Swords to Plowshares supports the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act and applauds the efforts of all those who support veterans entering the labor market.
Megan Klein Zottarelli, Policy Analyst
Megan performs research and analysis of legislation, data, and issues related to veterans such as criminal justice, housing, employment, women’s health, etc. Megan helps to create formal summaries and recommendations to lawmakers and key stakeholders to increase access to services and support for veterans and their families. She is especially interested in criminal justice issues among veterans as well as treatment alternatives to incarceration.