Help for the National Guard with Civilian Employment Opportunities

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As the military continues its inevitable drawdown after 13 years of persistent conflict, both Congress and the Obama administration have renewed their focus on increasing civilian employment opportunities for veterans. As unemployment figures continue to improve nationally, veterans’ unemployment still remains a major concern. The unemployment rate for veterans who have served since 2001 stands at 6.8 percent. Even more troubling are the rates for National Guard veterans during this time. According to Department of Defense figures from 2013, 11 percent of National Guard veterans remain unemployed, with rates of up to 18 percent among the junior enlisted population. Taking into account this major disparity, both Congress and the president have launched new legislation and initiatives to combat veterans’ unemployment.

Over the past two months, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held several hearings on educational benefits and employment initiatives for veterans. Many of the committee’s proposed bills would help to streamline veterans’ access to benefits and track outcomes of employment and educational pilot programs.  Others, like the Military Skills for Careers Act, introduced by Congressman Dave Reichert of Washington, would help veterans transfer their military skills to compatible civilian careers in a variety of fields. Reichert’s bill would streamline the application process for veterans with transferable skills and would eliminate the need for applicants to undergo redundant and oftentimes costly training. The bill enjoys support in both the House and Senate and could see advancement to the House floor this year.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity provides links to several education and employment programs for veterans on their website.  Some of the programs include:

Just last week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced the launch of a one-stop website for veterans seeking employment or assistance in transitioning from military to civilian life. The website, ebenefits.va.gov, provides veterans and their spouses with career-building tools and services such as resume building, a military to civilian skills translator, and a veterans’ job bank. In addition, eBenefits provides veterans and their families with a one-stop resource for health, financial and educational benefits and programs.

More Tools You Can Use

Several non-profit associations provide veterans with information and programs to assist in higher education and employment:

NGAUS is committed to any legislation that helps the members and retirees of the National Guard and their families secure and maintain employment in their civilian careers.  We work closely with Congress to ensure that programs like the ones included in this blog are available to the Guard.

        

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