Former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson told the Western Governors Association this afternoon that more than 27 percent of returning veterans age 18-24 “do not have a job today - that's more than one out of four. So I think we can stipulate that this is a problem.” Education programs, including the “new G.I. Bill,” are good, Nicholson said. “The problem is not that, the problem is jobs. Twenty-seven percent of these young returning guys and gals are unable to find a job.”
The reason is more than just the current downturn, he said, though that exacerbates the situation. “We've discovered that are many reasons. Among them is a lack of confidence on their part, because they left high school, many of them, did a four-year enlistment, so they haven't had any experience in that civilian sector. … They have difficulty articulating their military experience in a way that articulates to a human resources person interviewing them.” Nicholson urged western governors to “encourage your employers, public and private, to go out of their way to employ these vets, because No. 1, they're very good, and No. 2, it's the right thing to do.” He said, “I'm so glad you governors are on top of it.” Employment of returning veterans, he said, is “so strategically important to our country.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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