PITTSBURGH, PA— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released a JEC report today detailing the high unemployment rate among Post-9/11 veterans and examining ways to help veterans bridge the gap between military service and civilian employment.
“The unemployment rate among veterans is unacceptably high, especially among those who served our country after 9/11 and have returned to civilian life,” said Senator Casey. “This report underscores the need to improve and strengthen programs designed to guide our servicemembers toward successful careers after their brave service in the Armed Forces.”
Senator Casey unveiled the report, entitled Meeting the Needs of Veterans in Today’s Labor Force, at the Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania Workforce Development Center in Pittsburgh. He was joined by representatives from the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board and Community College of Allegheny County.
The report found that the unemployment rate among Post-9/11 veterans in April was 10.9 percent, compared to the overall veteran-unemployment rate of 7.7 percent.
According to the report, nearly 2.5 million men and women have left active duty in the Armed Forces since September 2001. Of the Post-9/11 veterans who are employed, over two-thirds work in the private sector. Skills and experiences these veterans receive while on active duty make them good matches for employment in industries that experienced significant drops in employment during the Great Recession, including the mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation and utilities, information and professional and business services industries.
Work is needed to improve the several federal programs currently helping servicemembers transition to the civilian workforce, the report finds.
Two bills currently in Congress would expand and strengthen the government’s ability to help veterans find work. Senator Casey introduced legislation last week to modernize the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DoL-VETS) program.
Earlier this month, Senator Casey cosponsored the Hiring Heroes Act to provide new job skill training to all servicemembers and create a new direct hiring authority so that more servicemembers have jobs waiting for them when they leave the military.