The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Thomas A Kennedy PhD
Ratheon Executive Vice President & COO 

Unemployed veterans need better educational chances

Guest Commentary


America is home to 21.2 million veterans—men and women who were willing to risk their lives for our country.

Unfortunately, many of these veterans face a daunting personal battle here at home: finding work. According to the labor department, more than 700,000 U.S. veterans are currently unemployed. This simply isn’t acceptable. Our veterans have earned the opportunity to earn a living and take part in the very society they fought to defend.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, competition for jobs has become fierce. Positions that once required a high school degree or less are being filled by college-educated applicants. This development presents a particular challenge for former soldiers, airmen, and sailors, many of whom enlisted without much education or civilian experience. Moreover, unemployed vets who find work typically take 43 weeks to land a job.

Joblessness is stressful for all who have experienced it. However, many veterans face additional obstacles. At least 3 million were wounded in battle and still suffer from some form of disability. Among those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, about 20 percent are living with post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, and one in three cope with a serious psychological trauma. All these stats are troubling—and illustrate why Americans must commit to making sure veterans have the tools to build successful post-military lives.

The best place to start is by broadening educational opportunity for our veterans. Indeed, education is often the determining factor in whether or not a veteran is able to thrive after returning to civilian life.

One initiative has already made important progress in this respect. This academic year, 250 community colleges and universities committed to implementing best practices established by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Education, and more than 100 educational experts. These “8 Keys to Success” help connect veterans with academic, career, and financial help.

For similar efforts to grow in number and effectiveness, more Americans need to get involved with private initiatives like Student Veterans of America and the Wounded Warrior Project. These two groups enable soldiers to draw on the skills already developed through military service and apply them to post-military careers.

We should always welcome opportunities to show our appreciation for those veterans who risked everything for our security.


Reader Comments

rcastle writes:

No jobs is a result of Barack Obama's economic failure(s). Even after almost 6 years, liberals haven't figured it out. Even today they argue it is not his fault. Don't forget, the last 2 Bush years, Democrats controlled both houses (2\3 % of the government and 100% of spending).


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