NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — More veterans are coming back from war and getting back to work in the civilian job force, thanks to efforts by both employers and the government, as well as the improving economy.
The jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has fallen to 7.6%, well below the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3%, and nearly five percentage points below the 12.5% rate for veterans a year ago. …
The Wounded Warrior tax credit is worth up to $4,800 for companies who hire disabled veterans. This credit was doubled in November for the long-term unemployed, giving a tax break of up to $9,600 to companies that hire disabled veterans who’ve been unemployed longer than six months.
There are other efforts in the works. President Obama has proposed the Veterans Job Corps initiative, which calls for $1 billion to hire 20,000 vets over the next five years to work in jobs related to environmental protection and maintaining roads and levees. …
He’s also proposed a $5 billion program to hire police officers and firefighters that would give priority to veterans.
There’s been a lot of fanfare about the new tax credit for businesses who are hiring veterans (worth up to $9,600), but is it making a positive difference in veteran hiring? Some early evidence from the Star-Ledger in New Jersey suggests that it might be. At a recent job fair in Newark, numerous veterans were interviewed, and many cited the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which was signed last November and included the new tax credit program, as helping them get more attention from prospective employers.
Army veteran Sharon Strand said in her interview, “For years I didn’t really talk about my time in the service. I didn’t realize the relevance of it, but now it has its advantages… A woman from a law firm called me for an interview this Friday and she wanted to make sure I had been in the military… I’m excited. I’m going to bring my dog tags and DD-214 form with me.”
Other job seekers such as National Guard veteran Farhaj Hassan have noted that conversations with employers have changed since institution the tax credit, with one employer calling him a “walking lottery ticket.”