Showing posts with label unemployed veteran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unemployed veteran. Show all posts

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The economic impact on transitioning service members and veterans is even worse.

Increasing recognition of military-based learning in the midst of the coronavirus crisis

Military Times
Lauren Runco
May 10, 2020

The quick spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in vast changes to the global economy. The Labor Department released statistics in late April which reported that over 30 million workers in the U.S. are now jobless, with 3.8 million workers having filed claims for unemployment benefits in the last week of April alone.
Health care professionals at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany undergo critical care training on April 20, 2020, to increase staff readiness and development in support of COVID-19 operations. (Marcy Sanchez/Landstuhl Regional Medical Center)
The economic impact on transitioning service members and veterans is even worse.

Underemployment is a major issue facing this population as a recent study by ZipRecruiter found that nearly one-third of veterans reported underemployment, which is a rate of 15.6 percent higher than non-veterans.

Enlisted service members, most without college degrees, receive high quality skill-based training in the military. However, they are often pushed into low-skill jobs after service. Their military training may qualify them for higher paying positions, but the primary barrier they face is that they do not have a civilian credential that represents what they know and can do.

What insights can be learned from historical periods of veteran unemployment that might guide or improve the response effort in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis? After the 2008 recession, there was a major surge in programs and funding focused on veteran hiring initiatives. While these programs did succeed in more companies hiring veterans, the retention rate became very low and numbers of veterans experiencing underemployment in the following decade skyrocketed.
read it here

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Largest employer of veterans....shutdown jobs and paychecks

Stress Over Shutdown Hits Veterans Who Work For The Federal Government Hard

St. Louis PBS
Chad Davis
January 23, 2019

The federal government is the largest employer of veterans in the U.S. One-third of the federal government is made up of veterans.

Donna Rogers hasn’t received a paycheck in weeks. An Army veteran who works at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) office in St. Louis, she’s among the 800,000 federal employees around the nation working without pay or on furlough.
The lack of a paycheck is weighing on her. The partial government shutdown is now the longest running in U.S. history, with no end in sight. “Being a single mom, bills are still due, period,” Rogers said. “So whether you have kids or no kids, you have teenagers, grown folks, whatever; I mean, bills are still coming through.”

Now veterans and their advocates are worried how financial instability is affecting this group of federal workers’ mental health, especially since many veterans consider the federal government an employer of last resort.

“Being unstable financially can cause a whole lot of more issues for our veterans,” Rogers said. “Not only we came to where some of us couldn’t get jobs once we got out the military, we have to be trained because nobody was accepting the jobs we did.”
read more here

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Veterans love their country but now you may understand why they fear the government

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 16, 2019

Erosion: The gradual destruction or diminution of something. The Latin version means to "wear or gnaw away." No one ever thought that this would be happening to the debt this nation owes our veterans, but some members of Congress are not even ashamed it is happening. 

They are actually pushing to do even more gnawing away of benefits disabled veterans fought for.

Veterans risked their lives for this country. They became disabled doing it. They were promised to be taken care of. Then they had to fight the government to have their claims approved. All too often, it took years of suffering medically and financially.

Once their compensation was granted with a "total and permanent" rating of 100%, they though this was a guarantee that they would never have to worry about again.

For the last few years, they have been discovering that word "permanent" was subject to change. 

Some want to say that cutting the "unemployable" percentages from ratings makes sense because senior disabled veterans were retired like everyone else. What they do not want to acknowledge is the fact that once the disabled veterans stopped working because of their disability, they stopped paying into the system.

Social Security benefits are based on how much they paid into the system. That means most of our disabled veterans, especially Vietnam veterans, will not be able to survive. If you think that the rate of senior veteran suicides is high now, this will push even more over the cliff.

What most people do not know is how far the rating goes.

A veteran with 100% disability receives $3,057.13 per month. If they are married, it is $3,227.58. For the rest of the breakdown, go to the VA chart.

If they cut the unemployable and reduce the claim, to 90%, that reduces the amount down to $1,833.62. At 80% it is $1,631.69. At 70% it is down to $1,403.71. 

How can they pay their mortgages and rents with that huge drop in compensation? They will not be able to.

We cannot make plans for our "golden age" when we do not know what Congress will pull next. We cannot depend on the VA when it is being sold piece by piece to private "providers" accountable to no one, being pushed into the healthcare system members of Congress keep trying to kill off.


But, this gets even worse.

Losing that 100% rating, will also cause the loss of most of their medical coverage not tied to their claim, and for their spouses and kids. 

It will cost them college benefits and their kids. Not that they even have that working the way it should.

They lose real estate tax breaks from their states as well as reduced fees from their cities and towns.

Discounts offered from businesses to disabled veterans will end because they are no longer 100% disabled.

This is why veterans and families like mine are freaking out. 

Yet again, the Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, has put out another report that this benefit should be cut to save money. They were not even ashamed to admit it December 13, 2018.
"End VA’s Individual Unemployability Payments to Disabled Veterans at the Full Retirement Age for Social Security"

And if you think I'm kidding on the Vietnam veterans part, here you go!
"VA's regulations require that IU benefits be based on a veteran's inability to maintain substantially gainful employment because of the severity of a service-connected disability and not because of age, voluntary withdrawal from work, or other factors. About 48 percent of veterans receiving the IU supplement were 67 or older in September 2017, up from about 40 percent in September 2010. That rise is attributed largely to the aging of Vietnam War veterans."
And then there is this part.
This option consists of two alternatives, both beginning in January 2020. Under the first alternative, VA would stop making IU payments to veterans age 67 or older (the full retirement age for Social Security benefits for those born after 1959). That restriction would apply to both current and prospective recipients. Therefore, at age 67, VA disability payments would revert to the amount associated with the rated disability level.

Under the second alternative, veterans who begin receiving the IU supplement after January 2020 would no longer receive those payments once they reach age 67. In addition, no new applicants who are age 67 or older would be eligible for IU benefits after that date. Unlike under the first alternative, veterans who are already receiving IU payments and are age 67 or older after the effective date of the option would continue to collect the IU supplement.
Thank God they are no longer running Congress and did not push their through but what about the next time? Why should we have to worry about this one thing we were supposed to be able to trust from our government?

Here are a few thoughts I can actually publish other than the ones I am thinking: 

How about making permanent actually mean that? 
How about never subjecting our disabled veterans to these nightmarish threats ever again? 
How about actually making sure the veterans who have 100% rating right now, no matter how the VA has decided to break it up--down--all around, and make it a flat 100% they never have to worry about again?

As for when to reduce the ratings, start when you guys in Congress reduce the tax cuts you gave the wealthy first. You always manage to find the money for them...but not for our disabled veterans!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Did you donate to VetMade Industries?

Millions collected, Tampa charity for veterans goes MIA
By: Steve Andrews
Posted: Sep 04, 2018

People donated millions to Tampa charity VetMade Industries, Inc., to help train unemployed, disabled veterans.
The program was designed to teach veterans how to make Adirondack style furniture and get them them used to reporting for work and getting a paycheck.

An 8 On Your Side investigation found as donations from a generous public poured in, the woodworking shop at VetMade Industries stayed empty, the machinery sat idle, the doors closed tight.

According to founder and Executive Director John Campbell, the whole program was on hold.

How long has it been on hold?

"Going on five years, that we're, I call it a caretaker status," Campbell explained.

Caretaking what?

Tax records show that in three years, $5.5 million dollars in donations flowed into VetMade Industries.

During that same period, not one veteran received training.

"Zero goes to the veterans," retired Army veteran Ken Cook said.

Cook was among the original volunteers at VetMade Industries when it launched in 2009.

What he found was disappointing.

"There was a high falutin fancy program on paper, but the reality was that there wasn't any kind of organized training going on in any way, shape or form," Cook stated.
read more here

Monday, December 25, 2017

Yukon Oklahoma Opens Arms for Wounded Veteran's Family

Volunteers Help Make Veteran's Family's Christmas

News On 6
Caleigh Bourgeois
December 23, 2017

“The feeling you get when you get to help somebody else that's in need is just a feeling everybody should experience,” Wade said. 

YUKON, Oklahoma -
A wounded warrior in Yukon and his family were given a Christmas miracle thanks to two friends and several volunteers.

Last week, Jessica Smith with the Red Cross received a phone call from a wounded warrior’s wife.
“He had just lost his job. They had no food in their cupboards. They were about to be evicted,” Smith said.
Determined to help the Yukon family, Smith called up her friend Ellie Wade, who works at First United Bank. 
“We have a fund where if we wear blue jeans on Friday we pay into it, and we collect all year long,” Wade said.
Wade and Smith took the money from that fund and started shopping. 
“We just started buying and paying the rent and utilities, and buying groceries and gifts,” Wade said. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

POTUS Budget Builds Defense Contractors, Whacks Troops and Veterans?

Are these reports what you expected out of POTUS?

Proposed Food Stamp Cuts Would Hit Military FamiliesThe report found that about 23,000 active duty service members received food stamps in 2013, according to U.S. Census data. In addition, information from the Department of Defense Education Activity showed that in September 2015, 24 percent of 23,000 children in U.S. DoDEA schools were eligible for free meals, while 21 percent were eligible for reduced-price meals.

Budget Calls for Cuts to VA Programs as Tradeoff for Extending Choice

Listed as one of the offsets for the extra cost is a new restriction on compensation for veterans through the VA's "individual unemployability" program.
Currently, veterans eligible for the program have a 60 to 100 percent disability rating through the VA and are unable to secure a job because of their service-connected disability. The program allows them to get paid at the highest compensation rate. For 2017, the monthly rate for a 100 percent disabled veteran living alone is $2,915 per month.
And while that happened...

"Shulkin said at a congressional hearing earlier this month that he would not be seeking a budget increase for the VA in future years, but needed one in fiscal 2018 for modernization efforts." 
No shocker there! Why would he ever want to increase the budget after they kill off the VA? POTUS is increasing money to send veterans away from the VA instead of honoring the fact that Veterans paid for their healthcare with their service...but then again, when it was his time to go, he decided to sit it out.

And then we have this, as if suddenly they will really do anything meaningful. It seems that either the reporter did a massive misquote, didn't know how to read or, the Secretary of the VA did but while quoting the "number" of veterans committing suicide there was this blunder
The Department of Veterans Affairs says the suicide rate for veterans has surged in recent years, and VA Secretary David Shulkin is looking for ways to stop it.
According to VA research, veterans have been taking their own lives at a rate of around 20 per day. He statistics show most are younger than 50.
Wrong, wrong and hell ya, wrong! 
VA Releases Report on Nation’s Largest Analysis of Veteran Suicide More than 55 Million Veterans’ Records Reviewed From 1979 to 2014 From Every State in the Nation

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today released its findings from the nation’s most comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the United States in which VA examined more than 55 million Veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. The effort advances VA’s knowledge from the previous report in 2012, which was primarily limited to information on Veterans who used VHA health services or from mortality records obtained directly from 20 states and approximately 3 million records..

Compared to the data from the 2012 report, which estimated the number of Veteran deaths by suicide to be 22 per day, the current analysis indicates that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide. A link to the report may be found here.

THE REPORT CONCLUDES: Approximately 65 percent of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older.

Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults. This is a decrease from 22 percent in 2010. Since 2001, U.S. adult civilian suicides increased 23 percent, while Veteran suicides increased 32 percent in the same time period.

After controlling for age and gender, this makes the risk of suicide 21 percent greater for Veterans. Since 2001, the rate of suicide among U.S. Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8 percent, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6 percent.

In the same time period, the rate of suicide among male Veterans who use VA services increased 11 percent, while the rate of suicide increased 35 percent among male Veterans who do not use VA services.

In the same time period, the rate of suicide among female Veterans who use VA services increased 4.6 percent while the rate of suicide increased 98 percent among female Veterans who do not use VA services.

Monday, March 27, 2017

2016 Employment Situation of Veterans

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Releases 2016 Employment Situation of Veterans 
Report – Finds Almost 36 Percent of Gulf War-Era II Veterans Had a Service-Connected Disability Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2017
In 2016, 5.2 million veterans had served on active duty during "other service periods," mainly between the Korean War and the Vietnam era and between the Vietnam era and Gulf War era I. All veterans from this period of service were 40 years or older at the time of the survey. Twenty-six percent of these veterans were age 45 to 54 in 2016, another 34 percent were age 55 to 64, and another 39 percent were age 65 and over. In 2016, 1 in 10 veterans of other service periods were women. Among veterans of other service periods, the unemployment rate for men was 4.1 percent, little different than the rate for women (4.9 percent).
March 26, 2017 - The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II bureau of labor statistics edged down to 5.1 percent in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported. 

The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down over the year to 4.3 percent. About 36 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans had a service-connected disability in August 2016, compared with 22 percent of all veterans. This information was obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides data on employment and unemployment in the United States. Data about veterans are collected monthly in the CPS; these monthly data are the source of the 2016 annual averages presented in this news release. 

In August 2016, a supplement to the CPS collected additional information about veterans on topics such as service-connected disability and veterans' current or past Reserve or National Guard membership. Information from the supplement is also presented in this release. The supplement was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service. For more information, see the Technical Note, which provides definitions of terms used in this release. read more here

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Black Rifle Coffee Company to hire 10,000 veterans.

'Hiring Vets Is Who We Are': Black Rifle Coffee Company Hits Back at Starbucks
February 7, 2017

In response to Starbucks announcing it would hire 10,000 refugees to protest President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, one veteran has a different plan.

Evan Hafer, an Army Special Forces veteran and CEO of Black Rifle Coffee Company, said he would hire 10,000 veterans.

"Our plan is to build 600 stores in the next six years. I'm gonna try to push this forward with the community behind me," Hafer said Tuesday as a guest on "Fox and Friends."
read more here

Thursday, June 30, 2016

OEF and OIF Veterans Out of Military Looking For Work

A generation of veterans is out of the military and looking for work
Seattle Times
By Tyrone Beason
Pacific NW magazine writer
June 30, 2016

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, America has raised a whole generation of service members and combat-hardened men and women — 3.6 million people as of last year — who’ve been trickling back into their communities and starting over as private citizens.
Many employers say military veterans are ideal job candidates because of their work ethic, on-the-job experience and leadership qualities. 
(Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
AS MOST OF US got ready for bed on the night of March 19, 2003, Nicole Gadson got ready for war.

Halfway around the world in Kuwait, Gadson was at the wheel of a Humvee as part of the Stryker Brigade combat team that would soon lead the invasion of neighboring Iraq to topple the government of Saddam Hussein.

It was a strange turn of events for the New York City native, who now lives in Snohomish County.

After growing disenchanted with studying accounting in college, Gadson signed up for the Army in January 2001. On the morning of Sept. 11 that year, she was half asleep in physical training on base in Pierce County when news came about the terror attack on the World Trade Center back home.

Watching events unfold on a TV in the gym, she thought of friends and family who might be in harm’s way in New York.

And she realized one other thing.

“I knew we were going to war,” Gadson says.

In Iraq, Gadson’s most basic, yet greatest, achievement at any given moment was ensuring her own survival and the lives of everyone around her.

“I was just happy to see the next day,” she says. “If I woke up, I was good.”
read more here

Saturday, June 4, 2016

North Carolina Bill Just Killed Off Veterans Protection?

Oops! North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law Also Hurts Veterans
Vets in Congress says HB 2 is “unconscionable” and should be repealed ASAP.

Huffington Post
Jennifer Bendery

Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) is making friends left and right these days
WASHINGTON — When North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed HB 2 into law in March, with the swish of a pen, he overturned all of the state’s local ordinances that protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from being discriminated against.

But there was another consequence to the sweeping anti-LGBT law: It wiped out local anti-discrimination protections for veterans, too.

Two jurisdictions in North Carolina — Greensboro and Orange County — had ordinances in place that barred job discrimination against vets. These types of protections trace back to the Vietnam War, when vets couldn’t get work as a result of their military service. In more recent years, veterans’ advocates have raised concerns about Iraq and Afghanistan War vets being turned away from jobs because of employers’ fears, unfounded as they may be, that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and would be emotionally unstable on the job.

McCrory eliminated those two local ordinances for veterans when he signed HB 2. The law also ensures that cities and counties can’t pass these kinds of protections going forward.

read more here

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Veterans Did Their Jobs, Others Need to Do the Same

Stop Apologizing For Being a Veteran!
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 1, 2016

Veterans really need to stop apologizing for being a veteran and acting like they just do not deserve anything. I get into all kinds of conversations but usually they start out with "I'm sorry to bother you, but" and then they go on to tell me what is on their mind. That is what I'm here for. Isn't it?

I have a job that pays my bills from 6 am to 1 pm and from 1 pm to 9 pm working for veterans is emotionally priceless, especially when they tell me that it all makes sense now to them. Sooner of later I figure out that the help they got before that beat them down instead of lifting them up.

Just had one of those calls.

Veterans need to understand there is nothing they need they would need had they not served. Physical, emotional and often financial needs after leaving the service are there because they served, risked their lives, endured all kinds of hardships and then got beaten down when they tried to get help, advice or simply someone to talk to.

Ok, that said, start with the simple fact that you will never, ever totally fit back in with civilians. They are not like you and you are no longer like them.  You used to be but the day you put on your first pair of GI boots, it is almost as if the soles sucked up military energy straight into your soul. Sure, when you got out you put on a pair of sneakers or sandals but the boots got into your bloodstream.

You went from civilian to GI (government issued) to veteran.  You did not go back to being called civilian again for that reason. Find other veterans.  If you cannot find your age group, then find a group of veterans you at least feel comfortable with.  Peer support groups work for a reason, a shared experience, even if that experience happens years or decades apart.

You are entitled to have all the same rights as civilians but because you served you get more. One of them is the VA. It is there for you because you earned the right to go there for medical care and, if disabled, compensation for what your service did to you.  The problem is, the VA cannot predict the influx of veterans finally figuring that one out. If you show up, you need to get in line, so be prepared for that.

One more thing on that part is it is not all their fault. We've seen all that is wrong being wrong for decades. Congress has jurisdiction of the VA but they hate to remind anyone of that. I've been tracking all this for decades and can assure you that none of this is new.

If you have a claim and they turn you down, go to one of the established groups like the DAV, VFW and American Legion so they can make sure you submit everything you need and get help to fight for yourself. Do not take no as the final answer if you know you are telling the truth. Hate to say it but, more often than not, if a veteran takes his story to the press, it gets fixed really fast.

If you read an article in a newspaper and it is wrong, like the "22 a day" contact the reporter and get them to fix it or defend it or expand on it.  They get paid to report but they don't get to make it up as they go along or pretend they did even basic research.  If they didn't take time to do that, then you know they didn't really care.

If you have a problem with the VA, then contact your member of Congress. They may pretend to not have known any of this has been going on, but look up all the years and all the excuses given, then look up how long your elected official has been in office. You'll notice how they have been shocked many, many times before, promised to do something only to discover it was no where close to being what was necessary.

Hold members of Congress accountable.  Look up their voting record.  Call them and ask them questions.  You owe them nothing and remember, they want your vote.  Make them earn it. 

If you are looking for a job, then be proud of the fact you were part of a team risking their lives instead of just their egos. If the employer is worried about you having PTSD, then remind them because of the VA working on PTSD since the 80's, civilians have been getting helped for traumas that happened to them and they will never be able to tell if that candidate has PTSD or not. 

Do not be ashamed if you have PTSD since they are ignorant of what it is, only be ashamed if you have not finally figured that out yourself. You do not have to disclose it to them anymore than you have to disclose any other medical condition that does not hinder the job you want to be hired to do.

If you turn to a charity claiming to be doing something for veterans, make sure they actually are and if not, then get on social media and let others know so they think twice before giving them any money or sending anyone to them. (That includes me)

You did your job.  It is time to stop apologizing for that and start making sure other people do their jobs.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Congress Passed the Americans with Disabilities Act 25 Years Ago?

A soldier gets paid this much to risk their lives and spend 24-7 in service to the country.
VA Compensation
So we have some folks now getting $15.00 an hour for a "minimum wage" and some think that is great.

$670 a week is what a 100% disabled veteran receives as compensation.

If you look at it as a 40 hour a week paycheck they are missing since they cannot work, that boils down to $16.75 an hour for disabilities they suffer with 24-7. There are 168 hours in a week. That means they get less than $4.00 an hour for what they have to live with every day of the year for the rest of their lives.

When you think that veterans are having a hard time finding jobs, remember that they don't just want to work, they have to just to be able to live.

As for the rest of the article showing that employers are still reluctant to hire veterans they need to remember that while it is true most veterans do not have PTSD, there is no assurance anyone sitting across the desk from them doesn't have it.  Folks get PTSD from a long list of things in their own lives.  At least with a veteran you know they are used to hard work, working as a team in really bad conditions while thinking fast and pushing themselves to the limit of endurance.  Sounds like the perfect worked to me as well as among the best this country has to offer.  It isn't just patriotic to hire a veteran.  It is a smart thing to do!
People With Disabilities Are Twice As Likely To Be Poor. These Businesses Are Fighting That Stat
Huffington Post
Eleanor Goldberg
Impact editor
Posted: 07/26/2015

The staggering unemployment and poverty rates among people with disabilities is a reminder of how much work still needs to be done to protect this underserved demographic.

Sunday marks 25 years since Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, a bill that aimed to give the group equal opportunities to pursue jobs and public and private services. While some vital progress has been made, people with disabilities still face incredible challenges when it comes to obtaining employment and becoming financially stable.
"Employers are scared to hire us," Debbie Eagle, who’s been blind since she was born, told NPR.

"Because they don't know what kind of accommodations we require. And if they don't meet what we consider to be reasonable accommodations, they're afraid we'll sue them."

Eagle, 43, has a bachelor’s degree in special education and said she’d love more than anything to be able to find work and stop relying on government assistance.

Michael Morris, executive director of the National Disability Institute, agrees with Eagle and told NPR that the issue at hand is that “attitudes are slow to change.”

Veterans, both those with disabilities and without, are facing an overwhelming amount of such stigma when they return home.

While most veterans come back without any emotional issues, experts say that hiring managers are skeptical that vets will “go postal” while on the job, USA Today reported in 2013.
read more here

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Homecoming Harder on Female Veterans

Why homecoming can be particularly hard for female veterans 
PBS Newshour
March 4, 2015
LAURA PARKINSON, Air Force Veteran: I did have one person who hired me because when she found out I made bombs, she was like, that is cool.

GWEN IFILL: After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, many veterans face an uphill battle finding work in civilian life. There’s been an increase in efforts to help ease their transition, but one segment of the veteran population is often overlooked.

Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Katrina Holley finds satisfaction in bringing order to people’s lives.

KATRINA HOLLEY, Air Force Veteran: Ever since I was in the fourth grade, I loved cleaning the house. I can remember vacuuming before I would leave for school.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Her attention to detail is just one of the skills she honed during 11 years in the Air Force. Holley’s small business in Hillsborough, North Carolina, cleaning homes calls on some of those skills, but for years she’s sought a civilian career that better values her military experience, a background that often catches her clients off guard.

KATRINA HOLLEY: Oh, my goodness. Well, I think so often people are surprised because they don’t think about female veterans. We are coming more into the light in 2014 and 2015 and after Iraq, of course. But I think that it is interesting, because it adds such diversity to your life. That experience is something that I value, value so highly.
A pilot program here in North Carolina backed by computer maker Lenovo and run by the nonprofit Dress for Success hopes to help change that. It aims to help female veterans look and feel their best in job interviews.
read more here

In the return to civilian life, many women find that veteran services fall short of their needs. Unemployment rates for female veterans are higher than for other women, as well as for male veterans. Female veterans are at least twice as likely to be homeless than women who haven’t worn a uniform. Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports on the challenges they face.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Canada: Veterans Blamed for Needing their VA?

Some ex-soldiers are exaggerating injuries so they don’t have to get a new job: Veterans Affairs
National Post
Lee Berthiaume
Postmedia News
January 2, 2015
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino in the House of Commons.

The Veterans Affairs department says some veterans are exaggerating their injuries to continue receiving financial benefits from the government and to avoid joining the workforce.

The explosive allegation is contained in a recent internal report on a Veterans Affairs rehabilitation program designed to help injured ex-soldiers transition to civilian life, which found thousands of veterans are staying in the program much longer than anticipated — or not finishing it at all.

The claim is sure to spark fresh anger among veterans groups and opposition critics who have previously complained about an insurance company attitude when it comes to Veterans Affairs Canada’s treatment of veterans.

But Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino’s office, asked about the report, said this week the government will continue to support injured veterans as long as they require assistance.

“Our government makes no apologies for ensuring that veterans receive urgent rehabilitation care when they need it, and that they receive this support for as long as they and their medical practitioner deem appropriate,” Fantino spokeswoman Ashlee Smith said in an email.

NDP veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer was critical of the department’s emphasis on potential abuse.
read more here

Sunday, December 14, 2014

60 Percent Unemployed Veterans 45 and Older

Older Vets Make Up Most Of Unemployed, New VA Report Shows
Hartford Courant
Conn. Health I-Team Writer
December 12, 2014

Veterans ages 18 to 54 had similar, or slightly lower, rates of unemployment than their civilian counterparts from 2000-2013, but older veterans were more likely than their peers to be unemployed, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The report also shows that the majority of veterans who were unemployed – 60 percent – were 45 and older, and that nearly a third were veterans who served after 2001.

The unemployment rate for that latest generation of veterans fell to 5.7 percent in November – down from 9.9 percent a year ago.

The newest women veterans face a higher unemployment rate than men: 8.1 percent, compared to 5.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate for the U.S. as a whole was 5.8 percent in November.
read more here

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus Praising Hiring Veterans

David Petraeus: Veterans are 'precious resources'
The Tennessean
Adam Tamburin
November 18, 2014
Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus attends the “Vets@Work” job fair Tuesday in the Music City Center. Petraeus a military pedigree made veterans an enviable hire.
(Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean )

Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus was in Nashville on Tuesday to encourage local businesses to hire veterans, who he said were among "our nation's most precious resources."

Speaking before a job fair for veterans and their spouses, Petraeus, who also served as CIA director, said a military pedigree made veterans an enviable hire. In particular, Petraeus praised the 2.5 million veterans who have served in the Middle East since 9/11, whom he called "the new Greatest Generation."

Petraeus oversaw military action in Iraq and Afghanistan for years after 9/11. He also commanded the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell from July 2002 to May 2004.

"If companies are looking for individuals who have leadership experience, who exemplify selfless service, who understand the importance of teamwork and who know what it takes to achieve results under tough conditions, then American veterans are what those companies need," he said. "Their sense of duty, their courage, their loyalty and their professional experience have not departed when they've taken off that uniform for the last time."

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin L. Hill, who served at Fort Campbell and in combat alongside Petraeus, acknowledged that some returning veterans face a litany of challenges, including post-traumatic stress disorder. But he stressed that those challenges shouldn't be seen as career enders.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Starbucks CEO Laments Sales on Veterans Day Instead of Honor

Starbucks CEO: Veterans Day ‘has been turned into a weekend sale’
Washington Post
By Dan Lamothe
November 10, 2014

The CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company criticized the way America treats its veterans on Monday, saying that Veterans Day “has been turned into a weekend sale,” and more needs to be done to understand the military experience.

“That’s not respectful for me,” said Howard Schultz, speaking at an event for veterans at The Washington Post.

Schultz appeared along with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald, Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran and some veterans to discuss how those who serve can continue to contribute to America after they take off the uniform for the final time. There’s a business case to hire veterans into corporate jobs, Schultz said, citing the “authentic leadership” they bring. But it has to be ingrained in the hiring practices of companies, he added.

The panel discussion, “Leading the Way,” is one of several events planned in the nation’s capital this week in conjunction with Veterans Day on Tuesday. Notably, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Eminem, Metallica, Rihanna, the Black Keys, Dave Grohl and other entertainers will combine Tuesday night to put on The Concert for Valor on the National Mall. The event — outlined here — is sponsored by Starbucks, HBO and Chase, and will air on HBO at 7 p.m.
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HBO Veteran's Day Concert Featuring Bruce Springstreen, Rihanna, Eminem, Jennifer Hudson Could Draw Record Crowd
By Ira Teinowitz
November 8, 2014

Washington D.C. braces for as many as 850,000 attendees at The Concert for Valor at the National Mall on Tuesday

HBO is pulling out all the stops for Tuesday's Veteran's Day National Mall concert which could be its biggest ever live event.

The concert will feature Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, The Black Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Meryl Steep, Jack Black and Bryan Cranston.

Fencing, which is normally used for inaugurations and Fourth of July celebrations, has been erected around the mall and Washington D.C.'s transit system has unveiled special plans to handle expected high attendance.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Starbucks CEO Schultz PTSD Advocate

A Cup of G.I. Joe
New York Times
Maureen Dowd
NOV. 1, 2014

Howard Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, center, in May with leaders from the Third Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Benning in Georgia. Credit Courtesy of 75th Ranger Regiment, U.S. Army
WHEN I close my eyes, I can easily flash back to a time when it was cool to call people in uniform “pigs” and “baby killers.”

If you had any family members in the police or military in the Vietnam era, you know how searing that was.

Now we give our veterans respect, early boarding at airports and standing ovations at ballgames. Yet it’s becoming clear that it’s not enough.

With no draft and fewer than 1 percent volunteering to serve, most Americans have no personal connection to anyone who went to Iraq or Afghanistan. There’s a schism between the warriors and the people they were fighting for.

Instead of ticker-tape parades, the veterans returned to find Americans in a crouch, wishing they could forget the military adventures of the last decade. Hollywood was turning out movies showcasing heroic veterans, but they were from World War II. And scandals scarred Walter Reed and an ill-prepared Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The government does a very good job of sending people to war,” Howard Schultz, the C.E.O. of Starbucks, told me in New York this past week, “and a very poor job of bringing them home.”
He has organized a Concert for Valor on the Mall on Veterans Day, featuring stars from Bruce Springsteen to Eminem to Rihanna, a way to celebrate soldiers and urge the public to get involved with veterans’ groups vetted by Gates and Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The free concert, put on by Starbucks, HBO and JPMorgan Chase, will be shown live on HBO, even for those without subscriptions.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

400,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Have Some Form of PTSD

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimates 400,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have some form of PTSD.
Mental trauma keeps Iraq vet from holding job
Wednesday, October 8, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) — The past several months have given Xavier Watt the opportunity to ferry his 10-year-old daughter to and from school, take her to visit her grandparents and go out for ice cream. He does the grocery shopping and keeps the house clean for his wife and little girl. He has time left over to play video games.

It's not the kind of freedom he wants. For Watt, 31, also enjoys his job installing and calibrating temperature-control systems and heating elements as an instrument and electrical technician for SunEdison in Pasadena. He wishes he were still clocking in each day.

But like hundreds of thousands of soldiers back from the war in Iraq, Watt has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is finding that complicates things in the workplace. He takes medication to control his dark moods, he's had extensive counseling to help him cope with conflict and he leans on his supportive family as he wrestles with scarring memories earned a decade ago far away.

He says he is OK to return to work and that he's got medical reports to prove it. So far, SunEdison won't let him back.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimates 400,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have some form of PTSD.

The agency has seen a spike in the number of PTSD-related complaints by workers. Many allege their companies failed to make accommodations for them in the workplace. Before 2002, the agency didn't track these types of complaints; in 2011, it received nearly 600 nationwide.

Joe Bontke, of the local EEOC office, said that when behavioral issues arise with war veterans, many employers' first question is, "What if he comes back with a gun?"
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That last statement shows that the military and the VA have done a lousy job of informing the public about what PTSD is and what it isn't.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Rags of Honor," a t-shirt is a lifeline for veterans

ABC 7 News WLS
October 04, 2014

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sometimes a t-shirt is more than just a t-shirt and at a company called "Rags of Honor," a t-shirt is a lifeline for veterans who need a helping hand.

The t-shirts they produce look similar to any others. It's the workers who are different.

"It's the only company, silkscreen company and apparel company that we know of devoted to hiring homeless veterans," said founder Mark Doyle.

Tamika Holyfield trained other seamen in handling weapons during her six-year tenure in the navy.

"I did two years and a half at the Bartons Air Base in Afghanistan," she said. "I returned to hardship and turmoil. I didn't have a place to live so I was basically living out of my car."

Twenty-five-year-old Frank Beamon III was a sniper operating a 50-caliber machine gun atop an army vehicle in Afghanistan.

Both found their skills hard to market when they returned home.
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