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John Reynolds

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How can we, as a nation of do-gooders and bureaucrats, best solve the problem of high unemployment among returning veterans?

In 236 years of nationhood, we have yet to solve the problem of high unemployment among returning veterans. Today, younger vets face an unemployment rate approaching 30%. Some of this is explained by the fact that veterans don't know how to sell themselves to corporate America, who, in turn, has little concept of how these people can contribute. Yet these veterans are the flower of our society. They've demonstrated dedication, teamwork, leadership, mission focus and, above all, a drive to serve. Why are we not hiring these men and women? We have resources and we have the will to help. What's the best way to serve those who serve us?

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    Dec 2 2012: Many companies (mostly big ones) publicize a veteran hiring preference. Too few meet that promise.

    The job market is still bad, but that doesn't explain the gap between vets and non-vets in the same age group.

    Your second point applies only to companies that don't understand the value of veterans' experience, hiring for aptitude and training for skills. This requires a longer view, but has huge payoffs for patient employers.

    As for government programs, I should have said "well funded" [bureaucrats] to emphasize that we're throwing public resources (such as the one you cite) at this problem. Governmental efforts, however, are not taken seriously by vets. That's because those who administer programs, well meaning as they are, don't have private sector experience. As for financial incentives, it's the big companies that tend to take advantage of them. Small businesses -- those that will do most of the hiring -- aren't swayed by incentives.

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