With the United States experiencing historically low unemployment rates, coupled with an equally historical labor shortage, it would be natural to conclude that veteran unemployment is a thing of the past.
The Call of Duty Crew, the world’s largest private funder of veteran employment, says nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are certain subsectors of the veteran population still struggling, but the way the government classifies “employment” is misleading, the endowment said.
In a report published on May 2 called “Lessons Learned for the Future of Veteran Employment“The endowment found that the real problem with veterans in the civilian workforce is underemployment: veterans working in jobs that are below their skills and experience or jobs that don’t bring home enough pay.
In April 2022, the veteran unemployment rate was 3%, lower than the non-veteran rate of 3.6%, which is good news, according to the Department of Labor. However, within what appears to be good news, research from Penn State University The Veterans Metrics Initiative (TVMI) finds that the rates at which veterans struggle with underemployment are much, much higher: up to 61%.
The report also shows that 55% of veterans believe they have more experience than the job they’ve applied for, a significant sign of underemployment.
One of the fundamental flaws is the statistics used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report says, calling them “inaccurate, not actionable, and give a false sense of accomplishment.”
According to the report, the BLS data is based on opinions and does not reflect actual results, such as payroll data, and requires veterans to identify themselves.
It also misrepresents veteran employment by counting odd jobs, Reserve or National Guard service, as long as the veteran earns more than $1 in a given week, as “employment.”
Finally, the BLS data does not measure employment data at the local level, only at the state and national levels. This kind of tracking, the report says, doesn’t help find where employment and other assistance should be directed.
Over the past 12 years, the Call of Duty Endowment has helped more than 100,000 veterans find meaningful (not underemployed) jobs, while championing the skills and experience veterans bring to the civilian world.
The Call of Duty Endowment’s white paper offers suggestions in the form of “lessons learned,” solutions that it believes would greatly improve the government’s current methods of helping veterans find fulfilling jobs.
The first lesson it offers is training employers and veterans on how to best translate their skills and experience learned in the military into the civilian sectors of their career fields. Non-profit partners of the Call of Duty Endowment offer this training.
His second lesson is to provide even modest personal assistance to veterans in transition. By providing a job interview coach or mentor, TVMI data finds veterans are three times more likely to find meaningful employment. They are twice as likely to find a job if they have a coach to help them write their resume.
The third lesson focuses on how the government spends money to employ veterans. It says the federal government currently spends 0.001% of its $300 billion budget, or about $300 million, for veterans’ employment programs, according to the report, a rate the Call of Duty Endowment believes needs to be changed.
The study says that increasing efforts toward employment reduces the need for housing and mental health programs, as fully employed veterans are much more likely to provide their own housing and are less prone to depression and suicide.
To help address the issue, the nonprofit organization and its parent, Activision Blizzard, will spend $30 million to continue the Call of Duty Endowment’s mission over the next five years. It’s a promise that hopes to put an additional 50,000 veterans into meaningful employment in that time frame.
Read the entire Call of Duty Endowment whitepaper at “Lessons Learned for the Future of Veteran Employment.” To learn more about the Call of Duty Endowment or donate to help veterans find work, visit website.
This article has been updated to reflect that the amount spent on veteran employment is .001 percent of $300 billion.
Related: Should veterans leave military service off their resume?
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