Is the Cure for Veteran Unemployment Just a Viral Video Away?
Veterans Disability Lawyer
It can be difficult for military veterans to find a job even in good economy. In a down economy, finding a job is even tougher. For vets returning home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the unemployment rate is at more than 12%, which is roughly 4% higher than the national average for all workers. And in some areas, the number is actually much higher. In New York, for example, the unemployment rate for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans is currently at 16.7%. And, for younger veterans, those between the ages of 18 and 24, the future seems grim as they face nearly 30% unemployment.
The numbers don’t lie. More than 234,000 new veterans are now looking for civilian work.
“The idea that our service members could go from the front lines to the unemployment lines is unacceptable”, stated Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), during a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and House Veterans Affairs committees this past July. Various administrations are in place to help vets find gainful employment, including the Transition Assistance Program and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. But results have been mixed.
Now, an IT training and certification company, Training Camp, is attempting a viral cure for veteran unemployment. They are currently hosting a viral video contest, featuring unemployed veterans, illustrating why veterans make good hires in the civilian world. Vet video makers are encouraged to make short videos that are “funny, silly, heartwarming or witty”, according to a spokesperson from Training Camp, to highlight why employers should hire vets.
The contest launched in July and runs through the end of September 2012. So far, Training Camp says they have 300 contenders for best video; for each video that is submitted, Training Camp donates $25 to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization working to raise awareness and support for wounded service members. The first round of videos will be aired for public voting in mid-September, after which a judging panel will choose winners and distribute the $100,000 prize pool.
Is this a valid approach for vets to reach out, and will it land anyone an actual job? It’s too soon to say. According to Mashable.com, Training Camp approached the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs to coordinate together, but the VA has so far declined to jump on board.
The U.S. Department of Defense routinely spends multiple millions of dollars to train our armed forces to “nation-build” overseas, and those skills can be transferable to the private sector. It’s yet to be seen if we will continue to waste our investment of time, money and people power, and allow our veterans to be lost in the transition from Over There to back home.