Paul Rieckhoff at IAVA posted the infographic below on Facebook today regarding the unemployment rate for military veterans. Top five states for veteran's unemployment:
- Michigan (30%)
- Indiana (24%)
- Minnesota (23%)
- Montana (20%)
- Tennessee (20%)
This is simply unacceptable, yet no politician on either side side of the aisle is seriously talking about it. A few weeks ago, the New York Times published an article that paints the severity of the situation in stark relief:
The unemployment rate for veterans aged 20 to 24 has averaged 30 percent this year, more than double that of others the same age...compared with 12 percent for other vets.
The employment gap cannot be explained by a simple factor like lack of a college degree — despite their discipline and training, young veterans fare worse in the job market than their peers without degrees.
Employers and veterans seem to view each other as alien species. Managers, few of whom have military experience themselves, may fear the aftereffects of combat or losing reservists to another deployment. They may have difficulty understanding how military accomplishments translate to the civilian world.
Older vets seem to have two things working against them when it comes to finding employment - age and past military status. Add into the mix the fact that the VA benefits claims process is catastrophically backlogged, and I really fear that there's a volatile mix brewing:
By the numbers:
Number of veterans who can't find work now
Number of veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars who are now back home and unable to find jobs
Number of additional veterans who will join the work force in the next five years
Number of private sector jobs the U.S. economy has added in the past three months
I know that most people (especially politicians) don't want to acknowledge or discuss this growing crisis, but it's about more than just what this country "owes" veterans - it's about a simmering powder keg that has the potential for really going bad.