By Julia Matulionis |Staff Writer|
Unemployment rates are slowly going down, but not for veterans, specifically women veterans.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for female veterans rose to 13.5 percent, well above the national average for veterans as a whole which is at 9.7 percent.
The nation’s average for unemployment is at 7.8 percent as of Sep. 2012. This is far better than last year’s percentage which climbed as high as 9.1 percent.
Veterans come home with a plethora of skills and knowledge, including positive attributes like punctuality, loyalty, and a good work ethic. Some of the negative aspects employers consider are translating skills to a business environment, post traumatic stress disorder, and concerns regarding future deployments.
“[They] may be skilled in the armed forces in a specific area that there really aren’t a lot of jobs in the civilian world for that particular work,” said Marci Daniels, Coordinator for The Veterans Success Center on campus. “They have a transition assistance program[...]its not enough really, for them to transition out into the civilian workplace.”
Women go through the same training that men do, this is a real testament to the challenges they face in and out of the military. Military occupational specialties, (MOS) are a popular path for soldiers. The trouble for women is these are mostly male dominated fields.
“I like welding. In this economy welding is still a high paying job,” said student and veteran Jennifer Iacolino. “They don’t like women in the field. I wasn’t taken seriously because they would question if I could do the heavy lifting.”
Jennifer was on the hunt for a job in her field and could not get hired. “I went into looking for a job in the metal working industry, even after going through school and getting a degree I couldn’t find a job,” said Iacolino. She is now a student for the second time as an English major and enjoys going to school.
“I’ve pretty much given up looking for a job, I just want to focus on my studies,” said Iacolino.
Coming out of the military and re-entering civilian life can be a tough challenge, a lot of veterans become homeless. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, 17 percent of homeless people are veterans.
Another issue they face is the length of time it takes them to get back on their feet. “Homeless veterans reported having been homeless for an average of 5.77 years vs. 3.92 years for homeless non-veterans,” according to a national survey of homeless veterans.
There are several companies making it their goal to hire more veterans when looking to fill positions like Wal-Mart, Chase Bank, and General Electric.
Camaraderie among veterans is seen at the Veteran Success Center on campus. It gives vets a place to do homework, relax and watch TV, or just hang out with people, who share similar experiences.