You might think combining a college degree with military experience would give you a leg up in a tight job market. But indications are that veterans with college degrees are having a tough time landing work.
According to the Marine Corps Times (subscription required), prospects for all college graduates seeking work in today’s market continue to be weak — and things aren’t much better for veterans with degrees returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
It fits a disturbing pattern we’ve seen in which returning troops find themselves unprepared to navigate the realities of the civilian workforce, especially when jobs are scarce. While the most recent unemployment numbers for veterans have shown substantial improvement since summer 2011, the jobless rate for veterans of post-9/11 conflicts continues to be higher than for the population at large.
With tens of thousands of men and women returning from Afghanistan in the coming months and years, the challenge of reintegrating military personnel into an unwelcoming job market will only grown more pressing.
We can and must do better. The Marine Corps Times article quotes one veterans’ affairs expert who suggests how the federal government can better prepare troops and veterans to re-enter the job market after they separate from service, including improved education counseling, better career counseling and enhanced job-placement assistance in veteran transition assistance programs.
The Obama administration recently announced plans to revamp transition assistance for veterans, a development we welcome. But more importantly, we need a government that understands how to enact sounds policies that strengthen the private sector, grow the economy and get government out of the way, so that the free market, where jobs are created, can thrive.
Got thoughts about the challenge of finding work after leaving military service? Leave your story in the comments below, or join the discussion at the Concerned Veterans for America Facebook page.
Kate Pomeroy serves as Communications Director for the Concerned Veterans for America team.