Veteran unemployment rate declines, but still higher than civilian rate


POSTED: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 9:46pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 24, 2014 - 2:03pm

After years of serving their country abroad, many veterans return home only to be faced with yet another battle - finding work as they transition back into civilian life.

"Employers on the outside are not aware of the type of training that soldiers have," said Leonard Stovall with the Army Career and Alumni Program at Fort Bliss.

And that might explain why more veterans in the United States are out of work than non-veterans.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans across the country dropped in 2013 to about 9% but that's still higher than the civilian rate of about 7%.

"It is difficult because I'm so use to a structure of the military lingo, the military climate. Individuals that are on the outside are a little bit scared at times," said Wilson Rivera, an unemployed veteran.

Rivera served for 12 years before he was medically discharged. He's now actively looking for work.

"The job search process is tough. It's frustrating," said Rivera.

"The process has been a little slow, more slow than I anticipated," said Ronald Rucker, a second unemployed veteran.

But with a graduate degree in hand and some 20 years of experience in the Airforce under his belt, Rucker said he is optimistic that his skills as a veteran will help him land a job.

"Usually, when you speak of veterans, they wake up, they get up, they show up. no excuses," he said.

Organizations like the Army Career and Alumni Program at Fort Bliss try and help soldiers and their families market those skills to potential employers.

ACAP offers help to veterans year-round and hosts several big job fairs - the next one is on May 14th when they're expecting about 110 employers.

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