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Honored But Not Hired, Veterans Look For Work

Updated: 11/12/2013 12:37 AM
Created: 11/11/2013 10:55 PM KSTP.com
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- As more and more veterans return home from overseas, many are struggling to find work.

Recent data shows 10 percent of those who enlisted after September 2001 are unemployed. In total, it’s estimated nearly 750,000 veterans are without work.

But the problem might not be so much a lack of opportunity, but lack of communication.

While government tax credits and other programs have made hiring veterans an attractive proposition, thousands still can't find work, leading some to blame the high unemployment rate on hiring officials who don't understand military terminology or training.

"For the most part it's a pretty good atmosphere,” said Cpt. Paul Jensen, a 24-year Navy veteran. “It's just tough getting over that hurdle of making people understand the vast experience they've got and the value of having a veteran in your workforce."

Cpt. Jensen owns Jensales Inc., a printing business in Manchester, and with several veterans on his staff, he says he often gets calls from other human resources personnel, asking for help understanding a veteran's resume.

"For me it's easy because I am a veteran,” Cpt. Jensen said. “So I can read all of those job descriptions and read that experience and understand why it's of good value to me."

Others said some veterans need help clearly communicating their experiences to those businesses where they hope to work.

"The biggest thing that I’ve seen a lot of veterans have a problem with is translating their military training to civilian life,” said Spc. Clayton Tuttle, a member of the U.S. Army National Guard.

Spc. Tuttle said that on his most recent deployment to Kuwait, he received resume and interview training, but said some veterans simply need to more time to develop those skills.

"If there's unemployed veterans then that means there's not enough help,” Spc. Tuttle said. “There's no reason why a veteran shouldn't have a job."

Still, veterans know the opportunities are out there if they can only bridge the communication gap.

"I have yet to come across anyone who doesn't want to help a veteran get a job,” Cpt. Jensen said.

Experts said unemployment numbers can be skewed by veterans who are in school or long-term training programs like those for law enforcement or other first-responder jobs.

But locally a veteran’s chance of finding work is pretty good. On Monday, Hormel Foods was named one of the nation's top 100 military friendly companies for the second straight year.