Veterans Employment Opportunities

“Employers recognize the value Veterans offer their companies.”  That is the assessment made in a recent article titled, Better for the Bottom Line: Hiring Veterans (p22-25).  Yesterday I had the honor of representing the American Legion at a job fair hosted by DeVry University and sponsored by Recruit Military  where over 200 Veterans representing every era from Vietnam to OIF/OEF were seeking employment opportunities.  The unemployment rate for Veterans overall is hovering just below 9%, and for Veterans who have served post 9/11, the rate is over 13%!  That’s the bad news; the good news is that there is a movement all across the country to focus efforts on finding employment for those of us who have served in the defense of our Nation.

Many Veterans are not aware of the many organizations that are out there making employment seeking easier for them.  In Chicago, where there are several hundred thousand Veterans living (of which 9-13 of every 100, or 9,000-13,000 of every 100,000 are unemployed) many organizations are focused solely on helping them find employment.  One such organization is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) who in March of 2011 “launched the

HiringOurHeroes program, which aims to find jobs for unemployed Vets.”   This organization has set out to host over 100 hiring fairs, several of which are planned for the upcoming weeks:  October 27th in Naperville; November 8th in Chicago (details pending); and November 10th in Bloomington, IL.

The energy industry is expecting a hiring boom over the next five years.  With that in mind, five electric and natural gas companies have begun taking steps to train Veterans to fill the projected need.  Troops to Energy Jobs was launched in July with the expressed intent of attracting Vets “to provide coaching, assessments, mentoring and ways to accelerate their education.”  Energy sector employers will be looking for pipefitters, welders, line men/women, and nuclear operators.  Troops 2 Roughnecks is another energy sector program that is seeking to “train Vets to work on oil and gas rigs.”

There are many non-profit organizations working with organizations like the American Legion and VFW to help Veterans find jobs.  Goodwill for America’s Heroes and Their Families in one such organization.  Goodwill is looking to hire  1,300 positions specifically for Veterans, military spouses, and their families.  In addition, there are several other online resources that are focused on helping Veterans find employment.  VetJobs  is the leading Internet niche job board for reaching the 10.5 million military veterans currently in the work force, the 200 thousand active duty military personnel who transition each year, the over 400,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve who return to the United States each year from extended deployments, and their family members.  Helmets to Hardhats places quality men and women from the Armed Forces into promising building and construction careers.

Let’s start with taking care of the Veterans!  If you are an unemployed Veteran, or know an unemployed Veteran, or care about unemployed Veterans, share this info and together we can begin to bring our Nation back from the brink of the edge and become once again proud to say God Bless America!


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