Just last month, IndustryWeek reported that the statistics on veteran unemployment are actually improving. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans have a lower unemployment rate at 3.6% than Americans overall, whose rate is about 5%. Thanks to new initiatives by businesses and nonprofits to train military members with job skills before joining the workforce, American attitudes are beginning to change when it comes to supporting job-seeking veterans.
However, the report wasn’t entirely positive: The youngest cohort of post-9/11 veterans, aged 20-24, has a 7.3% unemployment rate, which is still higher than it should be for people who have spent so many working years serving their country.
Part of the problem, according to Marine veteran Justin Constantine, is the gap between skills and knowledge that trips up transitioning service members: “Before they can get jobs, veterans and transitioning service members have to get through an interview. Many of them have difficulty communicating their skills and military backgrounds in terms that civilian employers can understand. Post-9/11 veterans have often never written a resume or interviewed with an employer while serving in the military.”
Constantine thinks, though, that 2016 is the year for veterans to truly succeed in the workplace. More companies, like Lockheed Martin, are making a dedicated commitment to hiring veterans. There are also more resources and websites than ever before that help pair searching veterans with new careers.
In particular, Military.com says that niche organizations have been working hard to place veterans in the manufacturing and technical service industries, which are poised to hire 230,000 workers over the next five years.
Here are some of the resources specifically designed for veterans seeking work in manufacturing. If there are any we missed, leave a comment in the section below, anytime! We would love to know about them.
Vet2Tech: Vet2Tech was started in Chicago in 2012 with the mission of training and finding employment for as many veterans as possible. “Targeting manufacturing and technical service industries was a no brainer,” says founder Carol Multack, “because the resurgence in manufacturing is creating a large number of new jobs that require skills many of our highly-trained veterans possess.” While the website initially focused on the food equipment industry, it now posts positions for industrial, mechanical, and electrical engineers, electrical installers, machinists, HVAC technicians, IT professionals, logistic specialists, and more. They also help with job skills and resume development and MOS code translation, among other services.
Get Skills to Work Initiative: This initiative is a partnership between General Electric, Boeing, Alcoa, and Lockheed Martin, who’ve matched up with the Manufacturing Institute, the Gary Sinise Foundation, and IVMF to actively hire and train veterans. Get Skills to Work posts manufacturing jobs across the United States, provides accelerated training and skills certifications, and works with skill associations to offer courses that can be completed in just a week or less. Learn more about Get Skills to Work here.
Veteran-Owned Businesses Association: The association keeps a running list of veteran-owned businesses who are friendly and likely to hire veterans. VOBA also supports veteran entrepreneurs or veterans who want to begin their own business and introduces them to corporations who like to keep veteran-owned businesses as part of their supply chain. Especially if you are a veteran with an idea for creating a product, this is the association that can help you translate your skills into the world of manufacturing and corporate business.
Again, if there are any websites we missed, leave a comment below—we want to hear about it.