Helping Veterans With Transition and Jobs

August 14, 2012

As we approach the 11-year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, America’s armed forces have returned by the thousands from Iraq and we are in the early stages of the drawdown in Afghanistan. More than a decade later, many of the men and women who defended our country have left the service — only to find a grim employment picture waiting for them.

In 2011, the jobless rate for veterans who have served in our nation’s military since 9/11 was 50 percent higher than the national average. Veterans 24 and younger faced a staggering 29.1 percent unemployment rate last year.

While organizations are working to address this national security imperative, we have witnessed firsthand the difficulties our brothers- and sisters-in-arms have faced as they transition from the military. Many private-sector companies are stepping up and finding innovative ways to help these men and women — many of whom are searching for civilian jobs for the first time since graduating from high school.

In March 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Foundation launched the Hiring Our Heroes program. The goal from the outset was to create a movement across America. With more than 230 hiring fairs in 48 states and more than 10,400 veterans and military spouses landing jobs, this grass-roots campaign is taking hold in dozens of communities across America. With an aggressive goal of hosting hiring fairs in 400 cities in 2012, Hiring Our Heroes is the largest-scale effort of its kind.

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