Coming home: The enduring sacrifice

There’s been intense coverage of the nation’s suddenly improving economy – including the sharp drop in the unemployment rate. But one part of that story may have slipped by in a mass of numbers.

There’s apparently been a dramatic fall in joblessness among America’s newest veterans – those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last month, their unemployment rate actually dipped below the national average. One possible explanation: new tax credits for businesses to hire vets.

Still, more than a 150,000 veterans are still unemployed, and some have even become homeless. Need to Know’s Maria Hinojosa has been following several of these new veterans since last fall.

 

Comments

  • jan

    I can sympathize to an extent.  No one should be homeless, whether a veteran or not a veteran.  That said, let me ask you a question.  If you eliminate unemployment among the veterans but allow unemployment to remain high or higher among the general public what message are you sending and what kind of society or system are you building?      

    A caution about those tax credits.   Jobs like that tend to be short lived since the jobs usually expire at about the time the tax credits expire. 

    Like I said elsewhere.  We need to give them unlimited medical and psychological care, whatever they need, and I think it should be given near where they live instead of making them drive hours to a VA hospital that is sometimes in another state.  The reality is that they already get extra points for being a veteran from more than a few employers.  I would support a work program that allowed them to transition back into a normal job as the economy improved.    

  • Chris

    I feel bad for them.

    BUT, the rest of us unemployed out here have been given NO HELP. 

    The rate of vets dropped from 12% to 7% because they passed all kinds of bills to give companies money to hire them.

    The vets just had a job. There are many of unemployed who haven’t had a decent job since the crash in 2008.

  • lwalton463

    I hate to bust these people’s bubble but they need to get a grip. There may be some generational pride here but this is not new the difference is that the media is all over these tender and gentle people. As a Vietnam vet I assure you that these peoples problems are not new and that they are receiving mor help and assistance than has ever been available to any veterans. So to the guy with the daughter and a teaching degree, get real and go get a job even if you must move. You indicated that you would be better able to support your daughter do it bird brain. And I say this as a parent who had to re-enter the service to support my family, after earning a BA. To the lady with the child she had to give up I know it is hard but they were her life choices she knew the consequences as a single parent in the military (see if you would get any consideration at all for this in private sector). And to the single guy, whart a drama queen suck it up brother.

    I know there are many seriously heart breakiing stories regarding our vets, but it seems this story just picked a group of whiners. There is real

  • AdelitaUno

    I wish the media and society had cared a fourth as much for the returning Vietnam vets. Many of these men have spent a lifetime unemployed and even homeless. Now as they reach age 65 they are eligible for housing and other benefits. And to a man they are so grateful to see the care and support given to these new vets by our society.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have any sympathy for the first lady highlighed in the show. It’s her own fault she got herself discharged and doesn’t qualify for benefits. If her kids live with their father now, why didn’t she send them to live with him to begin with instead of leaching off her brother now and living off of his disability. I also don’t consider someone that sleeps indoors with family (even if it is on the floor) as homeless. Real homeless people sleep outside regardless of the weather. Also when it is hard to find a job… you need to cut the intitled attitude that you are so qualified for everything under the sun and take what you can get, even if that is flipping burgers or moping floors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1612361066 Ann Scott-Arnold

    Enogh already! All those ‘oh woe the uneducated veteran’ stories are ridiculous.

    (1) The story bewails that the unemployment rate for veterans between 18-24 is around 25% Well guess what?  It is pretty much the same for ANY 18-24 year old who only has a high school diploma.

    (2) They have no real training that is in demand in
    the private world (killing people  is not
    a good skill)  and they generally do NOT
    have even an associates let alone more education when they come out

    ANd their unemploymnet rate is the same as for those who have the same minimal level of education.

    (3) ANd taking them 1 by 1

    Ryan got his degree   BUT
    there are tens of thousands of unemployed teachers WITH experience.  One young woman of my acquaintance – multi-lingual,
    MA in 2 areas including working with disabled kids and math – had to move from
    MI to Nev and it took her 3+ years to find a full-time teaching job.  MOVE to where the job is! 

    Christina Whining woman  -  NO
    EDUCATION!!  Breeding without any thought
    or plan  – 2 illegitimate kids!  She is the ‘low wage –minimum-wage’ job
    candidate  

    Mark  - 
    disgusting tattoos  no
    education   No one wants an employee with
    mood swings 

    Taisha -  NO EDUCATION 
    tattoos  It is the LACK OF EDUCATION that is largely the problem. 

    Ryan got his degree   BUT
    there are tens of thousands of unemployed teachers WITH experience.  One young woman of my acquaintance – multi-lingual,
    MA in 2 areas including working with disabled kids and math – had to move from
    MI to Nev and it took her 3+ years to find a full-time teaching job.  MOVE to where the job is! 

    Christina Whining woman  -  NO
    EDUCATION!!  Breeding without any thought
    or plan  – 2 illegitimate kids!  She is the ‘low wage –minimum-wage’ job
    candidate  

    Mark  - 
    disgusting tattoos  no
    education   No one wants an employee with
    mood swings 

    Taisha -  NO EDUCATION 
    tattoos 

    It is the LACK OF EDUCATION that is largely the problem. 

  • Maggie

    To say their only job experience is killing is incorrect and insulting.

    Many of them do have training that is in demand in the private world: medical training, driving large vehicles and heavy equipment, car mechanic, truck mechanic, airplane/helicopter mechanic, air traffic controller, electronics training (radios, communication equipment), supply / quartermaster — might translate well to warehouse work.  I’m sure that there are thousands of other jobs, but I don’t know what jobs have been outsourced to civilian contractors like Haliburton or to the local population.
    Other possibles:  Construction battalions, excavating, building, framing, plumbing, electrical work, etc.; doctors, nurses, translators, secretaries, office personnel, finance and accounting (someone has to handle payroll for military and payments to contractors), legal, logistics. 

    Other soft skills that are valuable:  leadership, real-world problem solving skills, ability to think on your feet, think fast, make decisions and take responsibility for the results, focus on the essentials, logistics –how to move lots and lots of stuff from here to there very quickly with the minimum amount of expense and manpower — that could be useful for retail operations or factories.

    Please be respectful of the sacrifices these people have made, and their skills.

  • Maggie

     If I recall correctly, the vet with the 3 year old daughter lived in the attic of his uncle’s house.
    That’s probably rent free or at a low rent.  Even if he found a job in another city, good luck to him to have enough money to pay for a 2 bedroom apartment.  Most people or families with only one income can’t afford a 2 bedroom.
    Financially, it makes sense for him to stay where he is for now, and look for jobs in the area.

  • Maggie

     They put their lives on the line, because President G.W. Bush told us that Iraq was behind the 911 terrorist bombings. Bush and Cheney repeatedly said that Saddam Hussein was in league with the terrorists, was connected to them, had harbored them, etc.  Bush and Cheney lied to us.  But we didn’t know that then.
    At the time, many patriotic and selfless American men and women enlisted, to go fight a dictator who they believed was a direct threat to the safety of the United States.  They put their lives in danger so WE could be safe. We owe them MUCH MORE than medical help. 
    They are coming back to communities where they don’t have the support network that many other people do.  Because the vets have been gone for many years, they are not as well connected, and would probably find it harder to network.
    We owe them. Giving them extra help in the job search, and tax bonuses to employers who hire them,  that’s not special treatment, that’s fair treatment. 

  • Ann

        Maggie51 minutes agoin reply to Ann Scott-ArnoldTo say their only job experience is killing is incorrect and insulting. Many of them do have training that is in demand in the private world: medical training, driving large vehicles and heavy equipment, car mechanic, truck mechanic, airplane/helicopter mechanic, air traffic controller, electronics training (radios, communication equipment — Maggie THEY DO NOT HAVE DEGREES! They can NOT work in healthcare without the degrees and the licensing and the certifications. They can not work in air control without the licensing and certifications ANd electronics….. do you have the slighest idea how many unemployed there are with Assocs, Bachelors and Masters in everything from computer databases to communications to engineering? And these military-training-only people DO NOT HAVE THE DEGREES- they only know what the military chose to teach them which is a far cry from being completely trained in all aspects of a field of study. And there are thousands upon thousands who got training as truck drivers and heavy equipment operators at community colleges and trade schools and GOT THE CERTIFICATIONS and the LICENSES – and are unemployed. Unless the job applicant has that DEGREE and/or the CERTIFICATION and/or the LICENSE, they are not considered qualified and their resume won’t get past the trash bin. And yes – the primary job of the military is to kill people. That is the one universal thing all military are taught – how to kill.     

  • ANn

     MaggieSo WHAT?  If they bought into the nonsense and lies – and anyone who though about it could tell that the Bsuh crowd was lying and it was all hype and false drama and blather  – then it doesn’t say much for their judgement or common sense.  Lemmings off a clif……. And no, no one gets credit fro being a lemming and not being too bright and not engagin in critical thinking….And BTW< they are NOT volunteers. They are hired mercenaries – they get paid uite well for taking the jobs.  (Note; 'Well' relative to their educational level since a high school degree = minimum wage anymore and no health benefits or naything else.)    

  • stonecarver

    This segment featured people with levels of education, training, and competence so varied that there will never be comparable outcomes for them.  The narrator seemed to think that the taxpayers owe a home and a job to a young, unmarried mother with no skills whatsoever just because she had served for a short time in the military.  She can in no way be compared to those who serve in combat, who enter the service with education and skills or who obtain them along the way.  It’s not vets per se who can’t get jobs–it’s because most of them are uneducated, untrained, and seem to think the world owes them a living.  The male teacher probably needs a master’s if he is to remain in the teaching field–the same way any other person would–why should vets or any group get special treatment unless they have medical problems related to their service?  The goal of the government is to “provide homes” for all vets?  Say what?