ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Veterans Day is this weekend; a time to remember the service and sacrifices of our military men and women. But for some, life after the military continues to be difficult, especially when it comes to finding a job.
The unemployment rate for veterans is a staggering 19 percent. That’s more than twice the average for civilians. That’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Defense have been sponsoring a series of job fairs in Missouri called “Honoring Our Heroes.”
One such fair was held Friday morning at America’s Center downtown, with more than 50 companies set up to meet and interview vets looking for work.
There are many reasons why that number is so high, including a fear by some employers that combat veterans may develop post traumatic stress disorder. But there are other considerations too, including the fact that because of their military careers, many vets have no experience looking for work.
“Not everybody is able to put on a uniform and serve our country but by supporting those who do and supporting their families, they actually are serving their country,” said Brandy Scheer, the Missouri lead for a group called Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Sgt. Patrick Wade, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of those looking for work, but having a hard time finding it, despite having gotten both an MBA, and a bachelor`s degree in computer technology after getting out of the Army five years ago.
“It is kind of hard to get access to employers,” Wade said. “Back in the old days you`d send in a resume and they`d call you back for an interview. These days it`s all on the internet and it is really hard to distinguish yourself from the other candidates that way.”
Friday’s job fair was a one day event, and while there have been several held over the past year, this was the final one for this year. Another is planned for the spring.