Veteran underemployment is killing our community
Categories: Grunt Style Professional, Military, Opinion, Professional, Public Service Announcement
There is a big fucking problem in this country. Veteran unemployment has thankfully been going down. However, underemployment is the hidden cancer few people are talking about.
Underemployment is when a worker is being underutilized or not given tasks that meet their skill. For example, medical, technical and trade skills are necessities in the military. However, many cannot translate that skill directly to a civilian workplace. There is not a direct translation for many military occupational skills. As a result, many accreditation boards do not recognize military training and still require new hires to start near the bottom.
Through Joint Service Transcript, military training can count towards college credits. However, most of the credits are considered electives. For technical degrees, most core classes must still be taken. A servicemember with years of technical skill may find themselves at a disadvantage because they do not possess the correct certificate for the state they live.
(We also talked about underemployment and translating skills, here, in a previous article.)
Because of this, servicemen and women are taking jobs that are far below their skill. The GI Bill is an option, but many have families to support. As a result, a lot of Veterans are taking the first paying job they find. Consequently, you have an NCO or Petty Officer who managed a dozen or more troops and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, now working entry level positions. An untold number of Veterans with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills are being underutilized. One day you are in a supervisor position, the next you are flipping burgers.
The Underemployment solution
To combat this, Grunt Style has partnered with various Veteran non-profit organizations. One of which being Bourbiz, which is free to attend. (Think bourbon and business put together! And did we say free!?) They hold military and spouse networking events all over the country. Bourbiz brings together Veteran companies, popular influencers, and those looking for new opportunities. Large companies who help sponsor this event have even provided opportunities for business mentorship and business grants. (I personally have given social media presentations to Veteran business owners, free of charge.)
These events give those transitioning to civilian life the opportunity to meet other Veteran business professionals in their area. It is important to open yourself to new circles, because you cannot leverage a network you are not a part of. Attendees can use these events to find pathways to companies and jobs that are a good fit. “I know someone who needs what you offer” is a glorious thing to hear, especially during one of Bourbiz’s famous open bar events. Find one near you at www.bourbiz.com
Another solution would be to pressure lawmakers to create measures to validate military training. One example of this would be the White House initiative encouraging colleges to make it easier to make Veterans, particularly special forces medics, certified physician assistants. The University of North Carolina is launching a new program tailor-made for special forces medics who want to enter that field. This is only one example of how to better serve our nation’s heroes.
In conclusion, if you’re not happy with your position in life, you have to be the one to change it. We should always look for the high ground and advance our firing position. If you don’t have any feasible programs in your area, take the initiative to start one. We can all be the change we want to see in the world.