This morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest figures on unemployment, showing that 21.1 percent of young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans cannot find work. To read the bureau's release, Click Here.
AMVETS leaders were saddened by the announcement, but cited reintegration and transitional shortcomings, along with legislative loopholes as key contributors to the disturbing figures.
"Young veterans are less attractive to employers compared to their civilian counterparts who simply have more experience in the civilian work force," said AMVETS Legislative Director Ray Kelley. "This is why AMVETS continues to advocate for improved transition programs from the military, such as TAPS, providing young vets skills like resume-building, allowing them to compete."
The latest bureau statistics do not include student-veterans, since student-veterans are not considered part of the work force. To Kelley, this only reinforces why Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits must be expanded to include non-degree job training costs, such as certificate and apprenticeship programs.
"College is not for everyone, so it's not enough to tell young veterans to go back to school if they can't find work," he said. "It's a tremendous disservice to withhold comparable opportunities to non-college bound veterans who just want to be competitive in the work force."
Reintegration and education are two of AMVETS' top legislative priorities for 2010 and AMVETS will continue to testify before Congress, proposing legislative changes to provide young veterans with the skills necessary to compete in the civilian work force.
Check back regularly with American Veteran Online for updates.