Tagged: veterans unemployment

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership

Posted by Admin

Unemployed military spouses receive help from DoDThe national unemployment rate is around 7 percent, but it is much higher among military spouses who have to change jobs frequently because of moves. A Pentagon program called the Military Spouse Employment Partnership was started three years ago to help unemployed military spouses find jobs has surpassed its goals, connecting more than 60,000 military spouses with 220 private- and public-sector partners, including Fortune 500 companies.

Meg O’Grady, a senior program analyst in the Pentagon’s Office of Family Policy and Children and Youth, said “Eighty-five percent of military spouses actually have some college, 25 percent of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 10 percent have an advanced degree.” The problem is that it can be difficult for large employers who want to hire military spouses to find them.

“We know that military spouses make great employees and businesses recognize that,” O’Grady said. “Through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, we provide a variety of ways for businesses to actually connect with military spouses.” Companies such as Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, as well as other big names in corporate America such as Verizon, AT&T and JP Morgan Chase are marquee brands that O’Grady said also have their eye on service members and their job-seeking spouses.

Officials say the inability of a spouse to find employment can affect the well-being of military communities, thereby affecting readiness and retention, which is why the department has been reaching out to corporations, small businesses and organizations to expand the network of potential spousal employers.

Resources available through the program include education and training, career guidance and mentoring programs. In addition, more than 1.8 million jobs have been posted on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership’s career portal.

College Student Debt 101

Posted by Christine A. Shelly
2012_average_student_loan_debt_militaryauthority.com copyStudents in the United States spend more on higher education than those in any other country. But something is wrong with our system when an overwhelming majority of graduating seniors are carrying significant debt and an equally overwhelming number of students don’t graduate at all. In the graduating class of 2012, 70% carried student loan debt with an average of $29,400 per student. Two-thirds of all graduating seniors entered the workforce with hefty bills to pay right away. But there are some resources and options available to students who need help paying for school. Students who are serving, have served, or are married to a member of the armed forces have tremendous education benefits to draw upon. For those who haven’t finished getting a degree, there are options like online education that allow you the flexibility to work full or part time and go to school on your own schedule. According to a study by Georgetown University, in 2012 employees with a Bachelor’s degree or higher earned twice as much as those with some college/associates degree or a high school education (or less). By the year 2020, it’s predicted that at least 65 percent of all jobs will require at least some college education. And even though the job market can seem scary, an average four-year college graduate experiences less unemployment and earns a larger salary than someone with no degree or a two-year degree. In 2012, the unemployment rate for high school graduates was 17.9 percent – more than twice that of college graduates. Earning power aside, there’s a lot to be said for learning: confidence, an expanded social circle, exposure to new and different ideas are all very positive things. It might be tempting to balk at the idea of spending or borrowing money to go to school, but an education is a far better investment than nearly anything else. Sources: http://goo.gl/UIWDR5 http://www.businessinsider.com/most-inefficient-education-systems-2013-10 Image credit: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/highly-educated-highly-indebted-the-lives-of-todays-27-year-olds-in-charts/283263/ #studentloans #studentdebt #onlineeducation

Hiring Our Heroes September 2013 Workshop Dates and Locations Announced

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

militaryauthority.com hiring our heroes workshop

Hiring Our Heroes, an organization that works in concert with the Chamber of Commerce to help employers connect with transitioning military members, military spouses and veterans, has announced its dates and locations for September 2013 workshops and career fairs. 

The dates are as follows:


Click on the city name for more information about locations near you.

Most fairs require registration in advance. Read the fine print carefully. Hiring Our Heroes requests that those participating in the career fair also participate in the workshops as well. 

Seven Tips for Successful Interviews

Posted by Kelli McKinney

interviewingYou’ve heard it before: You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Those crucial first few minutes of a job interview can make or break your chances to get an offer – or at least a next interview. 

Whether you’re a service member, military retiree, or military spouse, if it’s been while since you’ve interviewed for a job, take a look at these simple tips to help you amaze and astound your prospective new boss. In a good way.

  1. Bring extra copies of your resume.
  2. Arrive early.
  3. Make eye contact and sit up straight.
  4. Use language that demonstrates you know their industry – or at least have done a little research.
  5. Speak clearly and professionally – no slang, profanity, complaining or abbrevs.
  6. Ask relevant questions about the job and the company that demonstrate your interest and your abilities.
  7. Always send a follow-up thank you letter or email.

Above all, relax, do your best, and know that the right job for you is just around the corner.  And if you’re thinking about taking your skills and knowledge to the next level, check out our school finder for an easy way to research the best school for you.


Have you had any luck interviewing for a new job as a military spouse or transitioning servicemember? Please tell us about your experience below.

Labor Department Releases March Veterans Employment Report

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

Veterans Unemployment ReportThe Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the overall unemployment rate among veterans is declining. This is according to the March 20th release of the Veterans Employment Survey. The survey is backward-looking, ending with 2012.  

Some highlights:

  • The unemployment rate among male veterans fell by 1.4 percent to 6.9 percent 2012. The rate for women held roughly steady at 8.2 percent. 
  • Veterans with service-connected disabilities had an overall unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. However, veterans who are living off of disability, or who have given up looking for work, are not included in those numbers.
  • Veterans with service-connected disabilities are much more likely to work for the government than other veterans.
  • 19 percent of veterans are employed by government, rather than the private sector. This compares with 14 percent of non-veterans.
  • The unemployment rate among Gulf War-era II veterans is higher than the national average, at 9.5 percent fro men and 12.5 percent for women.
  • The unemployment for male veterans ages 18 to 24 is 20 percent. That’s much higher than the rate for their non-veteran peers.


Other studies have looked at the employment experiences of returning GWOT-era veterans. One study found that as many as 18 percent of returning veterans have trouble maintaining steady employment (Tanielian and Jaycox, 2008), and some 20 percent or more have symptoms of psychiatric symptoms. 

Financing a Degree in Tough Economic Times

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

financing a college degreeWhen I first joined Grantham College of Engineering, now Grantham University, almost 13 years ago, the median annual tuition rate to attend an in-state four-year college or university was about $3,200/year. Out-of-state college tuition, also at a public four-year university, was about $9,300/year. Now, just over a decade later, the median annual tuition in-state is about $8,500/year. Out of state tuition is out of sight at about $20,000/year. That’s a lot of money to fork over – or in most cases, a lot of money to finance. According to the US Consumer Financial Protection Board, at the end of first quarter 2012, outstanding student debt totaled an estimated $1 trillion.

Another area that has changed quite a bit over the past decade is the job market. The unemployment rate in 2003 was 6 percent. At the end of 2012, the unemployment rate was hovering at around 8.1 percent – for veterans, that rate for 18-24 year olds is just over 20 percent. Think about that for a moment: one in every five veterans ages 18-24 is unemployed. The total unemployment rate for all veterans over the age of 18 is 7 percent. In January of 2013, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,328 mass layoff actions (more than 50 employees were laid off at once), involving more than 134,000 workers. With federal furloughs looming and a number of employers making or considering reductions in workforce, competition for good jobs is fierce.

This picture may seem bleak, especially if you’re a prospective student or the parent of a prospective student. It may appear that the prospect of graduating with significant student loan debt is more likely than the prospect of graduating and securing a well paying job. But there are a number of ways for students to earn a degree without taking on significant financial debt at the same time. It may be even more important now, during tough economic times, to ensure your student is competitive by having a solid educational foundation.

The nonprofit group College Board authored a study in 2010 that compared median hourly wages of high school graduates with college graduates over time. For example, in 1982, the median hourly wage for high school graduates was about 50% lower than that of college graduates. Twenty-six years later, college graduates made more than double what high school graduates earned. This study is very similar to one completed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In that study, the results demonstrated that each additional year of education completed beyond high school results in increased hourly wages between 8%-13%. So what does this mean? Recent high school graduates and recent college graduates might be competing for some of the same jobs today – but in ten years, the college grad will be more likely to have a higher salary.

So how do we make college education less of a financial burden and more of a wise investment? Start by getting the facts. If you’re interested in a path of study at a particular school, ask for a line item cost estimate. Schools – especially those who participate in Department of Defense tuition assistance, Yellow Ribbon and GI Bill programs – are required to fully disclose costs. College cost calculators, like the one provided by Grantham University, are very useful tools. The best way to be prepared and build a financial plan is to know the facts.

If you’re a working adult considering college, your current employer may have a tuition assistance program or offer grants or scholarship money that would help offset your costs. Letting your employer know that you plan to attend school on your own time, at least in some cases, can demonstrate commitment to the company’s ongoing success. This is true especially if you plan to obtain a degree that will help you progress in your current field. If you aren’t sure whether or not your employer offers tuition reimbursement or other financial assistance, check with your HR department.

Another good resource for uncovering funding sources is your city or county public library. These places are often repositories for all kinds of civic information, including lists of local businesses and organizations who contribute to local scholarship and charitable funds. You can also do a simple Internet search using the search terms “scholarship funds” and your city or state’s name. Just use caution – no reputable, legitimate scholarship fund is going to ask you for bank information, a deposit, or social security number in order to apply for a scholarship.

If you are a member of the US Armed Forces, then you may have earned military education benefits that you, your spouse or your children can apply toward an education program. There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of education: CLEP testing, applying military training and service toward college credit, Tuition Assistance and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill are just a few. Veterans’ education benefits, by and large, expire ten years after leaving the service, so it’s worthwhile to explore your options sooner rather than later.

Finally, when looking at potential colleges, take a good look at online education offerings through accredited institutions. Many online programs offer quality courses, certificates and programs of study, just like those offered at more traditional state schools. But many online programs come without the traditional fees and overhead costs, so the bill you receive is typically much smaller than what you’ll find at brick-and-mortar institutions. Plus, you can attend class and study on your own schedule – rather than adjusting your world to school, school fits into your world.

Despite the current uncertain economic environment, an online education is a solid choice to bolster your future prospects. Education benefits — military, local, and federal — plus the high quality and reduced cost of online programs will allow you to make the most of all available resources.


Ms. Shelly has spent more than a decade working in higher education. She currently serves as executive vice president for Grantham Education Corporation. Ms. Shelly is passionate about changing lives – about making college education accessible and affordable to more people and preparing students and graduates for success.

Jobless Rate Soars for GWOT Veterans — Women Hardest Hit

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

unemployed female veteransThe unemployment rate among post 9/11 military veterans has soared, according to the latest release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobless rate for GWOT veterans, is up to 11.7 percent – a sharp increase from the 9.9 percent figure in December, and an even bigger increase from the 9.1 percent unemployment rate the same cohort posted just a year ago. The jobless rate for these individuals is also much higher than it is for the nation as a whole, which is 7.9 percent.

The overall jobless rate also increased in the February jobs report, from 7.7 percent, according to the Bureau.

The unemployment rate among women veterans of the Global War on Terror – 17.5 percent — is significantly higher than the unemployment rate among men, which is 10.1 percent. The unemployment rate among women GWOT veterans actually fell slightly, though, while unemployment among male GWOT vets increased from 7.7 to 10.5 percent over the same period.

Why are Women Veterans Lagging Men in the Labor Market?

As with so many things, the answer is, it’s complicated.

First, the data show clearly that women are far less likely to leave the service and enter the labor force than men. The labor force participation among women post-9/11 veterans is 70.4 percent – down from 72 percent the prior year.  This is substantially below the male participation rate of 83.7 percent. Women are more likely to pursue other options besides employment, including stay-at-home motherhood, becoming full-time students, or self-employment not captured in unemployment statistics.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, women are also significantly more likely to be collecting benefits for a service-related disability rated at 50 percent or more than men. Of the population of women receiving VA disability compensation, 34.5 percent of them are rated at 50 percent or higher, compared to 26.2 percent of men.

A Darwinian analyst might hypothesize that the difference between male and female unemployment rates in this demographic is a function of biology: A woman in this age group who has recently left the service and is not in the work force is still an acceptable mate for many men. Few women, however, would select a jobless male veteran as an acceptable mate.

Men, in short, work because women demand it.

Women are also three times more likely to be single parents than men (11 percent to 4 percent), according to the California Department of Research (citing a 2010 study from the National Center on Family Homelessness.) Furthermore, women in the military are far more likely to divorce than men.

John E. Pickens, executive director of a Veterans Plus, has another explanation: Women don’t carry the same warrior panache in the public eye. “”Typically, folks look at male veterans returning as warriors who we need to honor, and say we need to do what we can for these warriors. Women, unfortunately, don’t carry home that same mantel as a warrior,” says Pickens.

Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began using an updated population model put together by the Veterans Administration. It is possible that the new statistical model includes more veterans who had previously been excluded from the count, and that these newly-included veterans are more likely to be homeless. However, it was not apparent from the BLS release how much of an effect the new statistical model had.

Also, since the sample of GWOT veterans is relatively small, compared to the population as a whole, the unemployment rate among this sample tends to be more volatile, as well.

Walmart Will Hire Any Honorably Discharged Veteran within Their First Year off Active Duty, Starting Memorial Day

Posted by Kelli McKinney

walmart vows to hire veteransSay what you will about the big box retailer out of Bentonville, Arkansas, but they know the value of hiring veterans. Walmart has consistently been the largest private employer of our nation’s former military members, but now they are raising the bar even higher – and challenging others in the industry to work together to hire our nation’s heroes.

Starting May 31 – Memorial Day – Walmart will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty. Most of these jobs will be in Walmart stores and clubs, and some will be in distribution centers and the Home Office.

Over the next five years, Walmart projects it will hire more than 100,000 veterans. Walmart CEO Bill Simon believes hiring veterans will be critical to help rehabilitate the sagging US economy. “I can think of no better group to lead in revitalizing our economy than those who have served in uniform. Through their service, veterans give us a land of freedom. When they return, it must be to a land of possibility.”

Simon adds, “Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make. Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training, and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever.”

The White House has expressed interest in working with the retailer and the business community in hopes of building upon this commitment. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and major American employers will meet at the White House in the next few weeks to encourage businesses to make significant commitments to train and employ America’s returning heroes.

First Lady Michelle Obama stated, “As our wars come to an end and our troops continue to come home, it’s more important than ever that all of us – not just government, but our businesses and nonprofits as well – do our part to serve those who have served us so bravely. So today, my challenge is simple: for every business in America to follow Walmart’s lead by finding innovative solutions that both make sense for their workplaces and make a difference for our veterans and their families.  Given what we’ve seen from Walmart and so many other companies over the past two years, we know that they will.”

Simon sums up his vision for retail and passion for the troops by saying, “Imagine what retail could do together. We could leave an incredible legacy as an industry. We can be the ones who step up for our heroes. And we can do this now.”

Hot Jobs for Veterans 2013

Posted by Kelli McKinney

veteran job opportunitiesThere are some employers who just get it: If you want highly skilled, well-trained employees who work hard and learn fast, you want to employ ex-military personnel. Our military men and women have incredibly adaptable, translatable skills that make them very valuable to any industry.

What are some of the more popular careers for ex-military members who want to take what they’ve learned in the service and grow in the civilian world?  Take a look at these five career paths that are not only in-demand even in today’s economy, but also offer service members an opportunity to continue growing and learning.

Information Technology

The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics names computer scientists and database administrators among the “fastest growing occupations through 2014.” You would be hard pressed to name any successful business or organization that does not rely heavily on computer technology or data. The US Armed Forces uses some of the most technically advanced systems on the planet, which makes service members who have experience with IT part of an elite crew. Take this expertise into the civilian marketplace as an IT professional, whether as an entrepreneur, a certified contractor or a specialist.

Computer systems analysts, for example, are named by Economic Systems Modeling Specialists, Inc. as the fourth largest job opportunity in the country. Nearly 30,000 new jobs have been added in this field since 2010, and data indicates that the industry will continue to see growth. The biggest job opportunity, according to ESMSI, is in applications and systems software development, which has seen an addition of more than 70,000 jobs since 2010.

Police Officer

Law enforcement and military personnel seem to be cut from the same cloth. Both have a heart for service and an appetite to protect their community. Perhaps this is why veterans are offered hiring preferences with most police departments like bonus points on entrance exams, retirement perks, and even GI Bill benefits.

Plus, similar to the military, within law enforcement there are a number of specialized departments that offer professionals a chance to demonstrate specialized expertise.


How about a career that offers its professionals the chance to make a difference in young peoples’ lives, summers off, and the chance to earn extra income? Many veterans find immense satisfaction in the education field, particularly those who have science, technology, or math backgrounds. Think about it: Who is better suited to maintain order in the classroom, thrive under pressure and motivate young minds than our former military personnel?

There are also programs like DANTES Troops to Teachers that not only help train veterans and help them gain their teaching certification but also assist with placement in areas where the need for motivated, qualified teachers is greatest.


The American Dream at its finest: Owning and operating your own business. Once you’ve gained invaluable experience in the military, why not take what you’ve learned and live the dream?

Nearly 25% of all US veterans either seriously considers buying or starting their own business – or they actually do it, says SCORE, a nonprofit partner with the US Small Business Administration. They do this for good reason. Government regulation requires that a certain percentage of all federal government agencies must do business with a small, minority-owned or veteran-owned company.

Plus, if there’s anyone who has what it takes to navigate the stressful first years of business ownership, it’s military servicemembers. Not only do they have the discipline, they have had exposure to some of the finest examples of leadership (and possibly an example of how not to manage people), and they have access to some of the best entrepreneurial resources out there.

Civilian Public Service

It’s no surprise that many veterans opt to continue serving their country through civil service. The sense of altruism and public service that drives so many men and women to join the military in the first place is also what motivates many public servants to work in the hundreds if not thousands of federal agencies and organizations across the country.

EMSI ranked accounting, market research/marketing, and human resources among the top five job fields for 2013 – numbers 2, 3 and 4, respectively. And all of which, of course, are fields that can be found within the federal civil service.

Plus, some veterans qualify to receive special hiring preference when they apply for federal jobs.

Former members of the US military hold a number of highly desirable skills. This list is just the beginning of possibilities. With some additional education and training, even more doors can open to a huge array of potential second careers.

Free IT Training Opportunity Puts Vets in Jobs Market Sweet Spot

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

veterans to workSAP, a major German software development company with over 55,000 employees, has committed to offering free IT training to qualified American veterans, the company announced last week. The new program, called Veterans to Work, will provide scholarships for veterans to pursue training and certification programs on SAP software, including analytics, data management and mobility solutions, the company said.

The first group of veterans started class this week in Texas. Within 12 months, SAP aims to train and certify 1,000 veterans in California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Eventually the program will expand nationally through its online accessibility.

The goal, ultimately, is to have up to 20,000 transitioning veterans trained up to manage SAP’s business software solutions.

Veterans selected for the program can choose from a variety of offered courses and certification programs:

  • Analytics
    • SAP Business Intelligence Platform
    • SAP Crystal Reports
    • SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
  • Database & Technology
    • SAP Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise
    • SAP HANA, In-Memory Computing
    • SAP Sybase PowerBuilder
    • SAP Sybase PowerDesigner
  • Mobility
    • Sybase Unwired Platform – Developers

A Growth Field

Even as the overall economy is mired in growth that is tepid at best, the software development, data management and IT fields continue to grow – and will need a steady inflow of fresh talent for the next several years. The SAP opportunity dovetails nicely with the economy of the 20-teens.

According to the IT and HR consulting firm Gartner, Inc., the data architecture industry is going to need to find an additional 4.4 million workers, worldwide, to service the exploding demand for data management – all in the next three years.

There simply aren’t enough qualified workers to meet the project demand, notes Gartner. In fact, Gartner anticipates that two thirds of those jobs will never be filled. SAP’s move is potentially a shrewd way of ensuring itself market share in the data services and business software and analytics field going forward; after all, they will not be able to sell much software to companies if the companies can’t find qualified IT staff to run them. The Veterans to Work program gets SAP ahead of that hiring curve.

One of SAP’s disciplines is mobile technology – a field that continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Gartner projects 1.6 billion new smart mobile devices will be sold in 2016. Two out of three workers will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of workers will be mobile.

This program puts the selected veterans in one of the ‘sweet spots’ of the 21st century economy. And SAP will benefit from the veteran talent pool.

For more information, and to apply for the program, visit sap.com/veteranstowork.