By Debra Auerbach
Men and women who have served our country possess qualities and skills that are of great value to employers, including a strong work ethic, leadership and problem solving. Yet many veterans struggle with finding employment in the civilian world. According to whitehouse.gov, as of October 2011, more than 850,000 veterans were unemployed. In addition, the jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans was 12.1 percent -- well above the national average.
There is some encouraging news: A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 20 percent of employers are recruiting U.S. veterans to work for their organizations and that 14 percent are recruiting members of the National Guard. Yet, with more than 1 million service members projected to leave the military between 2011 and 2016, where can military veterans turn? What resources are available to help them prepare for, seek and secure employment? Here are four such resources:
1. America Wants You:
The recently launched website brings together the private sector and corporate America to find job opportunities for men and women who have served in the U.S. military. CareerBuilder powers the job-search engine, which is free for both veterans and companies. Thousands of jobs are available in a variety of fields, including sales, customer service and information technology management, at companies across the U.S.
"AWY is one site with one well-defined mission; simply put, AWY is designed to get our veterans back to work," says John Pike, CEO of AWY and a veteran himself. "Whether you have completed your service or are soon to do so, sites like AWY and all the others help in making a difficult transition a little bit easier."
EmployVets.com matches employers with veterans looking to return to the workforce. The website, powered by CareerBuilder, provides a variety of resources for veterans, including a job-search engine, a tool for discovering how one's military skills translate to the civilian world, and career advice.
3. Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer Inc.:
According to the website, VeTransfer.org's mission "is to teach veterans how to become entrepreneurs and to assist them in accelerating their veteran-owned innovations." The organization, which receives backing from the Department of Veterans Affairs, helps veterans start their own businesses. Veterans are connected with the financing needed to get their venture off the ground and with business volunteers and mentors who provide advice, guidance and support.
4. American Freedom Foundation Inc.:
The American Freedom Foundation provides grants to organizations that support veterans, including those related to employment. The foundation has a special focus on aiding wounded or disabled veterans and their families, as well as the children of those killed in action. One of the most prominent ways the American Freedom Foundation raises money is through its American Freedom Festivals.
Pike says veterans who are starting to look for a job should arm themselves with as much information as possible via sites such as AWY. They should also assess their skills -- what they've done and what they've learned -- and determine how these skills are transferable to the mainstream American workforce. "And finally, don't just look for a job, look for an opportunity to use your skills to grow within an area where you can advance and prosper."
Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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