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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jon Stewart Shines a Light on Veteran Unemployment Struggles

Last week we told you about the “Get Skills to Work” coalition’s effort to help U.S. military veterans transfer their substantial and professional military vocational training to civilian jobs. Not only is this a powerful initiative to bridge the skills gap in American industry, it is a positive way of thanking veterans for their sacrifice. (Full disclosure: My father is a veteran, and I also have friends who are veterans, so I feel passionately about the subject.)

Basically, when the military trains its men and women to perform engineering and medical tasks, it provides them with certification. However, U.S. states do not recognize this certification, although it is often comparable to the degrees and training obtained in civilian life.

On last night’s The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart addressed the issue, noting that in September, senators on Capitol Hill voted down a Veterans Job Corps program, a billion-dollar program to help armed forces members after they leave the military. Stewart brought two combat medics onto his show and “interviewed” them for jobs in their local areas. He sarcastically asked if they had the required certification, contrasting it with their courage in the field. Take a look:



While the Veteran Job Corps bill failed, another bill does have bipartisan support: the Hire at Home Act. You can view its details here.

Veteran unemployment in the country is at 6.7 percent (as of September 2012), but unemployment of post-9/11 veterans is at 9.7 percent, almost two percentage points above the 7.8 percent national unemployment figure. While many states, such as Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, are trying to help returning heroes in a struggling job market, the aforementioned Get Skills to Work organization is tackling the problem, too.

Veterans Day is a little over two weeks away. Have you heard of any good programs for veterans getting jobs? Do you have any experience yourself? Please tell us in the comments.

Brian Lane


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