Number of young, unemployed vets up

Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 6:38pm

They fight for our freedom and carry the weight of an entire nation on their shoulders.

But when it's time to leave the military for civilian life, veterans can be the last ones chosen by employers for a job.

A new report by the Center for a New American Security reveals the unemployment rate is increasing  for young vets between the ages of 18 and 24.

"I think that's a little surprising, given the fact that veterans come out of the Army at that age with far more skills and experience than non-veterans," said Major Joseph Buccino, spokesperson for Fort Bliss.

According to the March report, one of the main reasons employers shy away from hiring veterans is because they don't understand the value military skills and experience can offer their business.

"Businesses should give veterans a chance. they'll find that veterans have the skills and a greater level of discipline than civilians who haven't served in the military," said Major Buccino.

The Pet Barracks is a business in Northeast El Paso that does give veterans a chance. The owners, Gary and Sam, are both disabled vets who combined, served their country more than 50 years.

"It's one of the only businesses we could think of where we as soldiers could help soldiers heal," said Sam Stipe.

The Pet Barracks is a kennel that primarily houses the pets of deployed soldiers. Gary and Sam specifically hire vets with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries because they say the unconditional love of animals helps the vets recover from the terrors of war.

"To watch a soldier heal enriches our lives more than anything we could possibly think of," said Sam.

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