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Serving in the latest round of wars in America has not helped our returning troops when it comes to keeping their own homes. And now the news on the job front makes their lives even harder than before:
The jobless rate for veterans who served at any time since September 2001 — called Gulf War-era II veterans — was 13.3% in June, up from 12.1% the month before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In June 2010 it was 11.5%.
"It just so happens that there are a lot of people out there and there aren't enough jobs," said Pavel Ksendz, a 25-year-old Culver City resident who joined the Army in 2003, right after graduating from high school. After serving for four years, including 14 months in Iraq, Ksendz recently applied for a job as a janitor in Santa Monica, only to be told there were 59 other applicants.
Veterans face a unique set of obstacles when they start to look for work, said Lance Holbrook, a veterans representative at the One-Stop Career Center in Lancaster. Many went into service straight out of high school, and although they may have experience fixing airplanes or leading people, they don't have the college degrees that employers are seeking, Holbrook said. "Most employers won't even consider them without a degree," said Holbrook, who said he's seen a surge in newly returned veterans looking for jobs in the last two months.
Unemployment among veterans could rise even more in upcoming months as more troops return from overseas. President Obama announced plans last month to pull 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by year's end and a total of 33,000 by September 2012. And the number of U.S. troops in Iraq is about 46,000 now, down from the peak of 166,000 in 2007. Most of the remaining troops will leave Iraq by year's end.
The GOP has disappeared when it comes to creating jobs for all Americans since they took back the House, so I wonder how our veterans feel about the party that says they are pro-military?
Do troops without jobs believe reducing the debt is the most important thing in America? Or is having a job?