When you leave the military, the biggest question is "what's next?" It's a scary job market right now, but the skills you've received in the military make you highly marketable. The Legion sponsors dozens of veterans hiring fairs each year, and our employment experts also provide tips to writing resumes, networking and making a strong impression in the interview process.
Despite reports of economic recovery, the unemployment rate among young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars continues to rise precipitously. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the latest figure at 13.5 percent, as compared with 9.2 percent for the civilian population.
Among the primary functions of The American Legion's Economic Division is to advocate on behalf of unemployed and underemployed military veterans. The division offers frequent congressional testimony favoring legislation mandating the employment of veterans in government agencies and the award of federal contracts to veteran-owned small businesses. The Legion also sponsors veteran employment-centered events such as job fairs, small business workshops and industry-expert discussion groups.
During The American Legion's upcoming national convention in Minneapolis, a division-sponsored Employment Roundtable will assemble experts from the veteran, military, government and industry communities. They will consider strategies to cut the jobless rate among young servicemembers entering or returning to the civilian job market. Discussions will center around the cultural divide between the military and civilian communities, which leads to miscommunication and lack of employers' understanding and appreciation of training and skills obtained during military service. The frequent lack of civilian certification of military occupational skills will also be examined during the Minneapolis roundtable and in a separate certification "summit" being planned for the fall in Washington.
The Employment Roundtable is scheduled for Aug. 26, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Ave. South, in the Symphony Ballroom III (2nd Floor). Veterans and family members are invited to attend, as are other interested parties. Admission is free.
Homelessness among military veterans continues to be a concern of the Legion and is, naturally, among both the causes and consequences of unemployment. Ways to provide housing and help for homeless veterans will be discussed by government officials and private advocates during a Homeless Veterans Roundtable. This event is also scheduled for Aug. 26, 10 a.m. to noon, in the Hilton Minneapolis Symphony Ballroom III (2nd Floor). Again, admission is free.
For entrepreneurial veterans, The American Legion's Economic Division will host a Small Business Development Workshop during its national convention. This all-day session will address the "nuts and bolts" aspects of securing federal government contracts by veteran-owned small businesses. The event is set for Aug. 30 and Aug. 31, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Hilton Minneapolis in the Marquette Ballrooms III, VI and VII (2nd Floor). Admission is free, but those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP Steve Gonzalez, assistant director of the Legion's Economic Division, via email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
A downloadable 14" x 19" poster promoting these Legion events, as well as a similar session on veterans' education, is available online here.
For information on housing during the national convention, click here.