Think of the feeling you get when you see a soldier walking through an airport, or the way you choke up when you see the video of service member surprising their children at school after being deployed. As a Nation, we are all so very proud of the service, and sacrifice displayed by the millions of men and women who have deployed since September 11, 2001.
You may be surprised to know that many of those who have served the country find it more than difficult to find meaningful employment after serving. The unemployment rate for post 9/11 veterans is 9.2 percent compared to a 6.2 percent national average. With no shortage of programs in place to address veteran unemployment, you would think the unemployment rate would be dropping not growing, but the unemployment rate for the same group of veterans in July 2013 was 7.7 percent.
We hear that the challenge lies with veterans not knowing how to translate their military skills to civilian jobs, or employers not knowing how to disseminate a military resume, and match it to their open positions. The reality is, we as a Nation are failing this newest greatest generation. On one hand, we wave the flags, pat them on the back, buy them a cup of coffee, but all they are really looking for is an opportunity to continue serving.
There are currently more than 700,000 veterans who are unemployed, and there are almost 5 million job openings in the U.S If we are serious about supporting our veteran population, then we need to demonstrate it instead of thanking them for their service.
To assist in helping thousands of veterans connect with companies who are hiring, Veteran Recruiting will host the 4th annual 9/11 Virtual Career Fair for veterans. Instead of asking the employer and the veteran to travel to and from a traditional career fair, the virtual career fair allows them to connect, in real-time, and from anywhere in the world.
With more than 50 of America's leading veteran friendly companies attending, the 9/11 Virtual Career Fair will add tot he more than the 81,000 veterans hired as a result of attending prior virtual fairs since September 2011.
"At Xerox, we recognize and appreciate the skills and the work ethic that veterans bring to our business, including leadership, teamwork, and technical knowledge," said Ann Vezina, vice president of Human Resources for Xerox Services. "Virtual career fairs are an important recruiting tool because they allow us to expand our outreach, while helping to make the search process more efficient for our veterans."
If you are a service member, veteran, or military spouse seeking employment, I encourage you to register today for the 9/11 virtual career fair www.veteranrecruiting.com If you are a hiring manager, I encourage you to take the time to bring a veteran in for an interview. Take the time to get to know them, and stop relying on a computer program to tell you who is and who isn't qualified. If they are trusted with securing the country, they are more than qualified to fill your open positions. The best way to thank a veteran for their service is to give them an opportunity to continue serving when they return. They are not looking for a handout, but they definitely deserve an opportunity.
Follow Kevin O'Brien on Twitter: www.twitter.com/VetRecruiting