The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that nearly 15 percent of veterans aged 20-24 were jobless in July 2005 – three times the national average. The unemployment rate of non-veterans in the same age category was just under eight percent.
Twenty-four year old Lee French is a veteran without a job. French received a baccalaureate degree in history from Carnegie Mellon University and spent a year in Kuwait, serving as a shipping supervisor.
French said when he returned to the United States, he struggled to locate career opportunities that put his military experience to use. “I interviewed with a shipping company and they saw my resume online and they e-mailed me and they asked me to come in and once I showed up, I guess the guy was surprised that I was so young. He told me he would call me back, but I haven’t heard from him,” he said.
For many U.S. military veterans, pursuing a job is a critical first step to returning to civilian life and for some, it is not an easy one.
These veterans are not without help.
The New York Times Company is sponsoring annual job fairs called “Salute Our Heroes” to help veterans make the transition from military to civilian jobs.