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Johnson Raises Awareness Of Unemployed Vets

November 9, 2012, 5:51 PM by Hailey Higgins

Johnson Raises Awareness Of Unemployed Vets

While the unemployment rate for veterans is falling, it's still high.  Nationally, 10 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are looking for work.

Surrounded by military support leaders and Sioux Falls business people, Senator Tim Johnson wants to get to the bottom of why many veterans are unemployed. Nearly 700,000 of them are without jobs in America, a disturbing trend Johnson says needs to be addressed.

"It's an opportunity to ask questions and comment about the problems vets are facing in terms of unemployment," Johnson said.

Most vets return to their previous jobs after deployment, but South Dakota National Guard Adjutant General Tim Reisch says it can sometimes be very difficult to find a new job.

"It's not all doom and gloom, but for many veterans it is quite a road block for them," Reisch said. "But fortunately there are a lot of programs out there. It's just getting them hooked up to the right program."

In South Dakota, it is easier for vets to find employment, but many are underemployed, taking two or three survival jobs to pay bills. But Mike Hilbrands from Citigroup says veterans hold unique skills that should be utilized in the private sector.

"They are excellent employees. Bottom line, they're used to working under stress. Some are used to working in a structured environment. They have a lot of drive and they like to see things go from start to completion," Hilbrands said.

Johnson hopes by bringing the military, support services programs and businesses together, they will find a way to take care of the men and women who fought so hard for our country.

The South Dakota National Guard leaders say the guardsmen unemployment rate is 3.9. It's low because most citizen soldiers are still in college and not considered unemployed.

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