Veteran Unemployment Still a Concern as 2012 Election Approaches

June 4, 2012


Obama and Romney Positions Clearly Defined

By:  George Addison

Article first published as Veteran Unemployment Still a Concern as 2012 Election Approaches on Technorati

President Barack Obama greets people in the crowd at the Honeywell Golden Valley Facility in Golden Valley, Minn. The President urged Congress to act on the “To Do List,” specifically highlighting the need to honor our commitment to returning veterans by passing legislation that creates a Veterans Jobs Corps. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Millions of veterans are keeping a close watch on how both President Obama and Mitt Romney handle the job concerns of veterans returning to the U.S. workforce. President Obama’s new initiative to credential and license U.S. service members will help many veterans transfer skills obtained in the military to civilian jobs. Veterans seeking employment in industries like engineering, logistics, welding and other high skill positions will benefit most from the initiative, which seeks to boost employment for post 9/11 service members.

In addition, the president’s signing of a bipartisan bill in November of 2011,

encouraged companies to hire veterans by doubling tax incentives for hiring disabled veterans and repealing a 2006 law requiring federal, state and local governments to withhold 3% of contractor payments. Romney on the other hand says he will help veterans find good jobs – but no specifics have been given by the Romney campaign as to how he would guarantee such a pledge. Yet a recent Memorial Day Gallup poll shows Romney leading Obama by 58% to 34%.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a recent statement about the May 2012 employment numbers reflected on the positive results, saying, “Our labor market continues to recover. We continue to add jobs to an economy that was once bleeding 800,000 a month under the previous administration. Over the last 27 months, we have added more than 4 million private sector jobs. And for each of the past five months, we have created an average of 169,000 jobs. Additionally, the number of people who have been unemployed for six months or more has decreased by 800,000 over the last year.”

Organizations dealing with veteran’s employment believe things are getting better all the way around. Robert Walker, Director, Events & National Accounts for Recruit Military says his organization is a veteran owned and operated company that sets up employment events for veterans nationally on a regular basis.

I asked Walker how do veterans benefit. “We’ve all been there. We know what it’s like to get out of the service and say OK, what do I do next? So a Recruit Military Expo basically becomes the venue where organizations and veterans come to do what is usually the last part of the interview process – a face-to-face meeting with potential employers. I’ve noticed that over the past few years many companies now really want to do their part, ” he said.

Kimberly Brewer, Vice President, Human Resources & Compliance for Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc., agreed with Walker’s assessment. Her company takes part in events held by Recruit Military. Brewer said, “Our workforce is actually growing, and we’re doing really well. We are looking for skilled individuals like machinists, welders and engine machinists.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, veterans tend to be older than the non-veteran population, are changing demographically, and younger veterans have a higher percentage of women and have more racial and ethnic diversity than older veterans. The current economic environment is challenged to absorb the some 2 million veterans transitioning from the war, and although president Obama did not win the veteran vote in 2008, his certificate initiative may help close the 24% gap Romney has over him by Election Day.

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