Most of us see Labor Day weekend as a much-needed break from our jobs, and a time to relax with family and friends. But for the thousands of veterans still struggling to find work, the holiday holds little meaning.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the number of unemployed veterans is steadily decreasing. Still, some subgroups of veterans — such as females and those aged 18-24 — continue to experience higher rates of unemployment than non-veterans.
Why are so many veterans still unemployed? There is no simple answer but it’s still a question that needs to be asked. The challenges veterans face are varied and complex, ranging from physical and emotional disabilities acquired during their deployment to difficulty translating their military experience to the local job market.
Goodwill SOLAC understands that a multi-pronged approach is needed to help veterans reach their potential. Some seek out Goodwill’s job training and placement services, or programs that help them earn stackable credentials or certification. Others need additional support to overcome challenges such as lack of childcare, unreliable transportation, homelessness or addiction.
Nationally, Goodwill® member agencies have served more than 103,000 veterans and military family members through the “Goodwill for America’s Heroes and Their Families” initiative. Over the past two years, Goodwill member agencies have hired more than 1,800 into their own organizations or helped them find employment.
Time and time again, veterans prove themselves to be highly capable and motivated to enter the workforce. In addition to relevant skills and training learned during their service, these individuals demonstrate high levels of leadership, loyalty and dependability — traits that every employer values.
We all play a role in ensuring that military veterans and their families succeed on the home front. Goodwill has been committed to serving veterans since World War I, and we’ll continue to innovate ways to help them achieve their career goals.
Employers can do their part by taking a chance on a veteran candidate the next time a position opens. By shopping at and donating to Goodwill, consumers can be job creators, since revenue from our retail operations funds our job training, education and job placement programs and services.
So while you’re relaxing at the pool or hosting a backyard barbecue this holiday Labor Day weekend, reflect on the job opportunities you’ve had. And let’s not forget that we owe our returning service men and women more than our gratitude. It’s time to provide opportunities for them to become contributing members of their communities once again.