Fighting Chance: Veterans, Employment and Workforce Intermediaries

Workforce intermediaries exist to help job seekers overcome unique obstacles that could hinder their connections to gainful employment and successful career opportunities.

One such population served by Central Iowa Works is U.S. veterans: The men and women who have dedicated themselves to defending the nation, serving its people and guarding our freedoms.

female veteran lists an incomplete LinkedIn profile page, inadequate interview preparation, and overestimating how unique your skills and experiences may be among the “Top 9 Obstacles to Employment Veterans Face.”

As the United States this week celebrates 240 years of independence, it is a good time to reflect on the state of veterans’ affairs from the standpoint of economic security.

Veterans, in 2015, comprised 21.2 million men and women, accounting for about 9 percent of the civilian non-institutional population age 18 and over.

The employment situation for Gulf War-era II veterans – who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 – improved on a year-over-year basis as the jobless rate in that category declined by 1.4 percentage points to 5.8 percent in 2015.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for all veterans, at 4.6 percent, also fell from a year earlier. The unemployment rate for men was lower than the rate for women, who make up 9 percent of the overall veteran population.

Nearly 50 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans have reported serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both locations. Approximately one in three – or 1.2 million – of these have reported a service-connected disability.

In 2015, a service-connected disability was associated with approximately 4.3 million veterans – or 20 percent of the total.

Though the unemployment rate for veterans with a service-connected disability (5.4 percent) is not statistically different from those with no disability (4.3 percent), the labor force participation rate for veterans with a service-connected disability (45.8 percent) was lower than the rate for those with no disability (51.2 percent).

The BLS noted that a higher proportion of employed Gulf War-era II veterans worked in the public sector, in 2015, compared with employed nonveterans.

The proportion of out-of-work veterans in 2015 varied across the country as BLS pointed to Iowa as an example, with a 1.9 percent unemployment rate, compared with 7.7 percent in the District of Columbia.

Regardless of which branch of the military, sector of the workforce, or occupation they choose – from the business services and operations arena to TDL specialists or direct care professionals – the view on employment for U.S. veterans was looking up in 2015.

Given what the men of women of the U.S. Armed Forces have done to preserve our freedoms – from 1776, through the Gulf War period, and into the modern age – Central Iowa Works is proud to honor veterans – and the employers who give those with barriers to entry a fighting chance.

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