Some veterans still having trouble finding jobs

November 12, 2012 8:15:28 PM PST
Veterans around the Bay Area were honored Monday for their service. But many of those recently returning from places like Afghanistan and Iraq are having a tough time moving from their military life to jobs in the civilian sector.

"It's been hard, really hard," Navy veteran Nathan Padilla said. "Some of the qualifications I have, I received while I served really don't translate to the civilian world as much."

Recently discharged from the Navy, Padilla did finally find a job with the city of Concord, but he plans to use the GI Bill to go back to school and pursue a career as a social worker.

While there has been improvement, young veterans still experience higher unemployment than non-veterans. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 that number was more than 20 percent. Now it's 10 percent.

"We were able to pass a new GI Bill that pays particular attention to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to make sure that stays," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said.

Thompson is a Vietnam veteran.

"We've provided an incentive to those who hire veterans who are coming back," he said.

But some employers are reluctant to hire young veterans, either concerned about possible mental health issues or possible redeployment.

"I think that very well could be an area where a company may be reluctant to hire a veteran," Army veteran Shane Bower said.

Bower served in Iraq. As a police officer, his department made sure he had his job when he returned. But others haven't been so lucky.

"I do have friends that had looked forward to getting out of the service after their deployments to come home and go into a particular line of work and the jobs just aren't there," Bower said.

Bower says whatever concerns an employer, they can easily be overcome if the employer is just willing to give a young veteran a chance.


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