Daily Video

November 14, 2011

Returning Veterans Face Employment Challenges

After soldiers return from service in Iraq or Afghanistan, they often face a hurdle that’s, in some cases, more difficult than any they experienced in the military: finding a job. Many veterans report that even though they had complex, challenging duties in the military, they often can’t find interesting work that pays well when they get back to civilian life.

Employers are often wary of hiring veterans because of fears of mental illness and other challenges that might affect them in the workplace, studies show. Veterans say those fears are largely unfounded and that they would be able to do any job a civilian can do.

Veterans also say they sometimes have a hard time fitting in to life in college or in the workplace after they’ve served because other people have no idea what they faced. Many also say they miss the camaraderie of their fellow soldiers and the structure that went along with military life.

Quotes

“When an applicant applies and has a bachelor’s degree, the employer knows what the employee knows. In the military, they probably don’t know what we’ve done and don’t have a good idea of our skills.” – Erik Valdama, veteran

“Just going throughout your whole military career, it’s structure, structure, structure, instructions, instructions, instructions. I mean, some people just can’t just snap your fingers and be like, hey, I’m a civilian. I’m no longer in the military.” – Edmond Sheffield, veteran

Warm Up Questions

1. What is a veteran?

2. What kinds of things do people do in the military? What kinds of jobs do they have?

3. Why is unemployment bad for a society?

Discussion Questions

1. Based on what you saw in the video, name three challenges returning veterans face when finding a job that civilians are less likely to face.

2. Why do you think it’s hard for veterans to re-integrate into society after their service?

3. What do you think should be done to help more returning veterans find work?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

Young Soldiers Reflect on Afghanistan Service

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