Helping veterans, military spouses find meaningful employment ‘is the right thing to do’

Helping veterans, military spouses find meaningful employment ‘is the right thing to do’

Successful employment outcomes for veterans and military spouses are fundamental to maintain our all-volunteer force, and is the right thing to do for those who stepped up to serve, Julian Purdy said during the commanders’ call at The American Legion’s Washington Conference on Feb. 28.

Purdy, the deputy assistant secretary of policy in the Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), said data shows veterans outperform their peers in the workforce.

“So hiring veterans is a really good business decision,” Purdy said.

He noted that the unemployment rate for veterans was 2.5 percent in January — lower than the national average of 3.2 percent.

But there’s room to improve.

“Our military spouses are extremely educated, yet they experience high unemployment rates, four times the national average,” he said, noting that on average military spouses earn 38 percent less than their civilian counterparts.

And he emphasized VETS’ efforts to promote and advance equity, inclusion and accessibility in underserved veteran communities, “such as veterans of color, disabled veterans, veterans in rural communities, Native American communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and those that have been historically marginalized. … Every veteran, and I’ll say that again, every veteran deserves a good job with family-sustaining wages and the opportunity to establish generational wealth and well-being for themselves and their families.”

Purdy noted two VETS’ initiatives — the Employment Navigator Partnership Program, a one-on-one career service to transitioning servicemembers and spouses; and the Off Base Transition Training Program, an opportunity for veterans, National Guard, reservists and spouses to attend workshops in their own communities — aimed at helping ease the transition from military to civilian life.

He also thanked The American Legion for their support.

“I applaud the Legion’s ‘Be The One’ suicide prevention initiative this year. We certainly understand that meaningful employment is a protective factor as it enables financial stability, social connectiveness and a sense of purpose,” Purdy said.