Rand Study Reveals Interesting Findings Re: Veteran Unemployment

rand study

By Debbie Gregory.

According to a 15 year RAND study, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are not having as much of a difficult time finding employment as some sources would have the public believe.

There are still many hurdles to overcome, with the study revealing that veterans aged 18 to 24 who have recently separated have struggled to find jobs compared to the same demographic in the civilian population. With that said, part of that statistical information may be due to the fact that this age group is opting to use their education benefits and attend school rather than working full time jobs.

Other post-9/11 veterans do not have a much higher unemployment rate than their civilian counterparts. While the media relies on data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for its reporting, RAND looked at the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, where the sample size is much larger. Utilizing these numbers, the RAND study shows that post-9/11 veteran unemployment is not so different when compared to demographically similar non-veterans.

Also factoring in to the unemployment statistics is the number of veterans who are receiving unemployment benefits. With that said, the RAND study found that the majority of veterans receiving unemployment benefits were reservists returning from mobilization in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The RAND study found that tax credits for hiring veterans, such as the Vow to Hire Heroes Act and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, have had a positive effect on veteran hiring.

So have programs designed to improve veterans’ transition and employment opportunities, such as the 100,000 Jobs Mission, which has exceeded expectations.

Whether you are an employer looking to reach the veteran community with your job openings, an institution of higher learning, or a member of the military, a veteran or a supporter, we hope you will reach out to MilitaryConnection.com.  We are known as “the Go To Site” and have of the most comprehensive online directories of resources and information for our audience.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Employer Survey Reveals Surprising Attitude Towards Vets


By Debbie Gregory.

While American employers see veterans as “heroes,” they don’t necessarily see them as “assets”, according to a recent survey.

The survey, done by the Edelman marketing firm, found that the designation of “hero” can create an emotional distance between veterans and civilians.  This in turn can make it difficult for civilians to connect with veterans and view them as potential colleagues.

The online survey found that 84% of employers and 75% of civilians see veterans as heroes. But only 26% of employers and 22% of civilians think veterans are “strategic assets” in their communities.

The survey also found that employers most commonly think about mental health problems when they think about veterans.

While the jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has decreased in recent years, there are concerns about the quality of employment.

Survey results were released as part of a joint effort by Edelman, Give an Hour, a non-profit organization that provides counseling to troops and veterans, and the George W. Bush Institute.

“The issue is about long-term job fit, advancement, retention. Is the veteran given the same look as others?” said  Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour.

The goal was to examine the “well-being” of veterans and what was described as an ongoing schism between civilians and those who serve in the military, according to Van Dahlen.

Van Dahlen said the contrasting view that veterans are heroes, but not assets, is a product of an American culture in need of heroes, but lacking understanding of its military. “These folks come home from war, they’ve seen and done things that would make many of us feel uneasy, uncomfortable, intimidated. And so by seeing them in this way, as heroes, it does keep us distant from them.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Provision Scales Back Federal Job Preferences for Veterans

Veterans McCainBy Debbie Gregory.

Congress has stepped into a sensitive issue that’s been quietly roiling the hiring system for federal jobs: the Obama administration’s push to give preference to veterans.

While former service members would still go to the head of the hiring line, a little-noticed provision of the new defense bill recently passed by the Senate would eliminate the preference veterans get once they are in the government and apply for another federal job.

Top defense officials pressed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the change in order to ensure that qualified non-veterans are considered equally with veterans for specialized, hard-to-fill positions.

The provision would affect thousands of veterans, many of whom get a foot in the door with an entry-level position and then seek jobs at other agencies.

The provision has been fiercely opposed by leading service organizations, which had no idea until the legislation was on the floor that the Senate was moving to chip away at the government’s most visible effort to reward military service.

“Is Congress now starting to dial back the goodwill the country’s shown toward veterans’ employment?” asked Lauren Augustine, senior legislative associate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group. “Are we now going to set a bad example to the private sector by limiting veterans preference in government?”

In 2009, Obama boosted the extra hiring credits given to veterans to give them a greater edge in getting federal jobs.

But the down-side to the policy has been that qualified non-veterans are getting shut out of federal jobs in deference to those who served, but may not be as qualified.

In 2014, almost half of those hired in full-time, permanent federal jobs were veterans. The figures for 2015 have not yet been released.

A spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee said the committee has not taken a position on the issue.

McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said last week that he does not think the Senate provision hurts veterans’ preference but instead “balances the goals of rewarding those who are eligible for a federal hiring advantage with the needs of the federal government and notably the Department of Defense to attract and hire the best talent for a variety of important national security jobs.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

When Seeking Jobs for Veterans or Military Spouses, What Should You Wear to the Interview?


By Debbie Gregory.

When looking for jobs for veterans or military spouses, there is one question that always comes up: what do I wear to the interview?

A good rule of thumb is wearing a suit or an outfit that is a higher level than the job that you’re applying for. By dressing a notch or two above what’s standard apparel for the position you’re interviewing for, you’re demonstrating that you care about getting the job.

Additionally, dressing on the conservative side is always the safest bet. The last thing you want to do is stand out for something other than your personality and qualifications.

While a suit isn’t always required, it’s usually alright to inquire about the dress code when you set up the interview.

Even if the dress is casual, make sure your footwear is not. Closed toed, closed back shoes are the best choice for both men and women.

If you’re on a budget, make sure to take a second look at what is already hanging in your closet. While you may think what you have is outdated, often times your look  can be updated by accessorizing with a nice handbag, earrings or necklace for the ladies, and a nice briefcase, cuff links or tie for the men.

If you must purchase something to wear, stick to basic colors such as blue and gray so that your pieces will be timeless. Although black and brown can be worn, they are not as good of a choice.

Don’t rule out consignment shops that specialize in higher end clothing, as well as outlet stores.

The most important take away is make sure that whatever you buy fits properly. You don’t want to look unprofessional is a suit that hangs on you, and you don’t want to distract your interviewer with buttons that are pulling because the shirt or blouse is too tight.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Tech Companies Set High Veteran Hiring Expectations

space jobs

By Debbie Gregory.

Matching up veterans and transitioning service members with tech jobs makes sense, since many of those who have served have already utilized tech-related skills.

To that end, tech giants like Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and EMC pledged to hire 1,000 to 3,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years. Additionally, GoDaddy and Seagate Technology have pledged to hire 200 to 500 veterans.

Joining Forces, the national employment and career development initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden now has five years of success. The program has resulted in 1.2 million veterans and military spouses receiving jobs and training.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose company pledged to make 25,000 veteran and military spouse hires said, “”We’re constantly looking for leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and who want to deliver for customers.” Bezos added, “Well, those principles look very familiar to the men and women who served our country in the armed forces. And also their spouses. These guys work hard and have lots of skills.”

SpaceX has a solid reputation when it comes to employing members of the military, and has been named one of the 10 best companies for veterans in the country. The company boasts a high percentage of recent hires who were veterans, as well as a 95% retention rate among hired former service members.

This talent pool has also worked in the most challenging and stressful environments imaginable.

At MilitaryConnection.com, we offer a multitude of resources for veterans and military spouses who are seeking employment, including our Virtual Job Fair and our Job Board.  We also spread the word to employers about the tax credits available to employers who hire veterans.

We salute and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

VetTechTrek Launches Project Standard for Veterans


By Debbie Gregory.

Over the last 12 months, VetTechTrek has been working towards a goal of helping military veterans network with the technology industry. To that end, they hosted multiple “treks,” personal visits for 180 veterans and military spouses inside of 60 of the world’s best tech companies. Some of the companies represented have included Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook and seed fundY Combinator.

The nonprofit was started by Steve Weiner and Mike Slagh, two navy veterans who now work in the tech industry in San Francisco.

A victim of its own success, VetTechTrek was overwhelmed with requests from both veterans and companies wanting to participate. The next problem to solve was how best to make their resources more readily available.

The solution is Project Standard, an e-learning platform that will house a library of resources to help veterans build great post-military careers. Project Standard will provide unprecedented access to tools and inspiration for hundreds of thousands of transitioning veterans who seek meaning and success in their next career.

It’s no secret veterans represent a diverse asset that immediately augments an organization’s culture and ability to drive global impact.

While the group will continue running a few in-person treks each year, the majority of the nonprofit’s resources will be dedicated to Project Standard.

According to the VetTechTrek blog, Weiner and Slagh said, “The military reinvents itself faster than any organization in the world and the needs of its service members will continue to change rapidly. As recently transitioned veterans, we have a short window to make a lasting impact on the one million professionals who have held huge responsibilities very early in their lives and who will transition to the US economy in the next four years.”

If your company is interested in partnering, click here.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Study Reveals Huge Economic Loss Due to Unemployment of Military Spouses


By Debbie Gregory.

Military spouses have been and continue to be the backbone of military families. Unemployment and underemployment of military spouses not only affects individual families, but it’s costing the U.S. economy — to the tune of about $710 million to $1 billion a year, according to a new report

The cost is calculated by adding up lost federal income tax, unemployment benefits, and health care costs.

Military spouses face hurdles in their job search that their civilian counterparts do not.

There are those who think that military spouses don’t need to work. Some do. Some want to. But that should be their decision.

They move. A lot. The average military spouse will move 8-12 times over the span of a 20 year career. This could easily be seen as a problem when an employer looks at a resume.

Often times, military bases are in the middle of nowhere, making jobs scarce. Remote military locations have limited types of jobs, not all of which are suited for military spouses.

Military spouses are often filling the role of both parents.

It doesn’t get much easier post-transition. As the drawdown continues, transitioning military families need new incomes. In some cases, transitioning military families need dual incomes to replace the pay and benefits from the military service, and in others, the service member may not be able to work, due to school attendance, disability, addiction or PTSD.

The answer to this problem? For starters, employers need to be educated on the qualities that military spouses and veteran spouses have, and the skills they bring to prospective employers.

Employees who are part of the Military Spouse Employment Program understand the added benefits that military spouses can bring to the table.

If you are in a hiring position, we hope that when military spouses and veteran spouses come across your radar, you give them a fair chance.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

More Bases Added to Solar Ready Vets Job Training Program


By Debbie Gregory.

In the pilot phase of the SunShot Initiative’s Solar Ready Vets program, only three military installations participated in the training our nation’s transitioning servicemembers for careers in the solar energy industry. Now, seven additional installations are participating in the highly successful program.

The program is made possible through the DoD’s SkillBridge initiative, which allows exiting military personnel to pursue civilian job training, employment skills training, apprenticeships, and internships up to six months prior to their separation.

Expanding on a previous pilot program, the training connects our nation’s skilled veterans to the solar energy industry, preparing them for careers as solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.

Military bases were selected by the Department of Energy, in partnership with the Department of Defense and military branches, based on the number of exiting military personnel from the installation, the strength of the surrounding solar market, and the training capacity of nearby training institutions.

Solar Ready Vets is currently available at the following military installations:

  • Camp Pendleton in California – U.S. Marine Corps
  • Eglin Air Force Base in Florida – U.S. Air Force
  • Fort Bragg in North Carolina – U.S. Army
  • Fort Carson in Colorado – U.S. Army
  • Fort Drum in New York – U.S. Army
  • Hill Air Force Base in Utah – U.S. Air Force
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey – U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy
  • Joint Base San Antonio in Texas – U.S. Air Force and Army
  • Marine Corps Base Hawaii – U.S. Marine Corps
  • Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia – U.S. Navy

Employment in the U.S. solar industry increased 123% since 2010. The Energy Department has secured commitments from some of the largest U.S. solar companies to interview graduating military trainees for employment, a step that will help place qualified trainees in the high-paying jobs for which they received training.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Companies Commit to Jobs for Military Veterans


By Debbie Gregory.

Joining Forces, created in 2011 by first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, has resulted in jobs for military veterans, hiring/training more than 1.2 million veterans and military spouses.

Now, 40 companies pledged more than 110,000 jobs for military veterans and military spouses over the next five years, and more committed to training them.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon has committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years, training 10,000 veterans and spouses in cloud computing.

“We’re constantly looking for leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and who want to deliver for customers,” Bezos said. “Those principles look very familiar to the men and women who served our country in the armed forces. And also their spouses.”

The aerospace-defense sector pledged to hire a combined total of 30,000 veterans, and the telecommunications sector committed to hiring a combined total of 25,000.

“They made these commitments because time and again they saw for themselves that our veterans and military spouses are simply the best employees around,” Mrs. Obama said, reinforcing that these companies are doing the right thing.

As far as hiring for high tech jobs for veterans, she added, “If they can set up wireless networks in Baghdad or do satellite reconnaissance in the mountains of Afghanistan, I’m pretty confident that they can handle whatever’s happening in Silicon Valley.”

Mrs. Obama also stressed that she hoped the next administration would continue to make hiring veterans and military spouses a national priority

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

The Best Choice for Technical Jobs: Hiring Military Veterans


By Debbie Gregory.

When it comes to employers in the technology sector seeking candidates to fill their open positions, hiring military veterans makes perfect sense. By using their problem-solving skills, their abilities to make quick decisions and their initiative, veterans are a great fit.

If you’re wondering what the top high-tech jobs for veterans are, here’s what you need to know:

  • At the top of the pay scale, Solutions Architects make a median base salary of $199,500, and this is a great position for problem solvers. Solutions architects work with their company’s clients processing feedback on their company’s product, and providing solutions based on that feedback.
  • Software Development Managers make a median base salary of $135,000, and this is another high paying position. Because this is a managerial position, your leadership skills will pay off.
  • While Software Architects make a median base salary of $130,000, there are not many openings in this career choice.
  • Data scientists can expect a median base salary of $116,840, and the demand is fairly high. The position entails knowing how to manage and store data.
  • Foundational skills required for Project Managers are very similar to the skills learned in the military. This position’s base salary is approximately $106,680.
  • Analytics Managers, who analyze data and making conclusions about it, can expect to make a salary of around $105,000.
  • With a median base salary of $95,000, Software Engineers are in high demand.
  • UX Designers make a median base salary of $91,800, and these jobs are in high demand.
  • Mobile Developers can expect to earn around $90,000. These positions are also in extremely high demand.
  • QA Managers monitor software testing processes or test new products, and make a median base salary of $85,000.

If you have a technical background, consider one of these great career paths.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.