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Sgt.Krohn
2007-04-06, 10:57
Disciplined, skilled, loyal and struggling to find a job
Even with prized qualities, 20,000 Texans back from war find transition to work life hard
6Apr2007 - Houston Chronicle - By ROSANNA RUIZ

Raymond Garibay ought to be able to handle an office job. After all, the Iraq War veteran ran a computer network for an Army battalion in the midst of a war zone while facing nightly mortar attacks.

But Garibay, a 25-year-old Houston man who served two tours in Iraq, has been unable to find work since leaving the Army in December.

"I've barely been out, but it's really hard," he said.

Garibay is now among the ranks of an estimated 20,000 unemployed Texas veterans who have recently returned home and are seeking to join the work force. These men and women possess qualities most employers prize they are disciplined, skilled and loyal, and many have experience for top-management positions. And yet some veterans, particularly those in their early 20s, are finding the transition to civilian life difficult.

In 2006, veterans ages 20 to 24 had an unemployment rate nationwide of 10.4 percent, compared with 8.1 percent among nonveterans in the same age group. It was even worse the year before, when 15.6 percent of the young veteran population was unemployed, compared with 8.7 percent among nonveterans.

One U.S. Department of Labor economist said market changes or changes in the expectations of job seekers may account for some disparity.

"That's hard to say," said Sharon Cohany, in Washington, D.C.

Another economist suggested that some veterans may find their military experiences have not prepared them for comparable civilian jobs.

"If they're in the combat arms of the military learning to fire a rifle, that may not serve them on their next job interview," said Cheryl Abbot, of the Labor Department's Dallas office.

Cohany said she could not explain the recent narrowing, which could put the gap in the unemployment rates within the margin of error.

"The unemployment rates of veterans and nonveterans have grown closer together," she said. "There were a couple of years where they were growing apart, and that alarmed some people."

Good source of workers

Many young veterans may be late to enter the work force because once they return home they often are able to live off pay they accumulated while in the military, said Robert Walker of RecruitMilitary, a national firm that connects veterans with employers. Walker said the young vets begin to look for work once they go through that income.

On Thursday at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Garibay, a former Army sergeant, and hundreds of other job seekers, some in fatigues and other military garb, participated in a career fair sponsored by RecruitMilitary. They met with representatives from about 30 companies, employment services and government agencies, including CVS, DeVry University and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Company executives have discovered that veterans are an excellent source for workers, said Larry Slagel, a RecruitMilitary vice president.

"People watch TV and see these kids in Iraq and Afghanistan and they feel that this is a really good group of people," Slagel said. "It's good business sense and not just, 'Hey, let's wave the flag and hire a veteran.' "

Looking for leads

Shane Cornett, a Lowe's recruiter, is also a Desert Storm veteran and a former military recruiter. That's why he was chosen in September for a new position: transitioning military recruiter. He said Lowe's has hired veterans for jobs at the corporate and retail levels and in between. "It's a benefit to the company and a benefit to veterans," Cornett said.

Sgt. 1st Class Travis Shahan, 28, said he's interested in a job at Lowe's or any other "high volume" retailer. He won't leave active duty until August, but at least one recruiter told him to call Monday.

Staff Sgt. Ryan McCullough, 32, didn't fare as well. He's interested in a career in satellite communications and already has an offer to work overseas. But he'd prefer to find work here. He said he stopped by one booth that looked promising, but the company only had openings for truck drivers.

Garibay said he found a promising lead at the fair. In Iraq, he worked 20 hours on most days and was frequently awakened by mortar explosions. While proud of his service, he decided not to re-enlist.

"I wanted something new," he said, "and I knew I could experience more with a better

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4692684.html

Frolicking Dino
2007-04-06, 15:41
I feel that war-time veterans should get preference in civil service hiring and that private sector employers should get a substantial two year tax break for hiring a war-time veteran during their first year out of the service. I also feel that employers should get a tax break for the entire time they have a disabled veteran in their employ - the size of the break being tied to the level of the disability. This should get most of the vets who want to or are able to work into the workforce. As a taxpayer, I would have no problem paying higher taxes for this. I feel it would not only be good for veterans, but would result in a higher quality of people considering military service.

oldsoldier
2007-04-06, 15:50
I have to say, I was most fortunate with my company. The first time I was deployed, they paid 100% of my salary. the second time, they paid the difference between the two. Both times, I was able to go right back to work (after about a month off). I think it also partially depends on the area's economics. In TX, there may simply not be enough jobs to go around. It sucks to come back from a year or two deployed, only to be unemployed. Good time to go back to school though ;)

Hollowdweller
2007-04-06, 17:58
I feel that war-time veterans should get preference in civil service hiring and that private sector employers should get a substantial two year tax break for hiring a war-time veteran during their first year out of the service. I also feel that employers should get a tax break for the entire time they have a disabled veteran in their employ - the size of the break being tied to the level of the disability. This should get most of the vets who want to or are able to work into the workforce. As a taxpayer, I would have no problem paying higher taxes for this. I feel it would not only be good for veterans, but would result in a higher quality of people considering military service.


I totally agree with you FD!!! Also college tuition or any sort of trade school or computer or other vocational training should be 100% paid for.

Truly the GI bill that allowed tons of WW2 vets to go to college was one of the greatest economic development incentives ever put into place and it is still paying back thru the large middle class we have today!

PS in my state (WV) Vets do get preference on all civil service jobs.