Match vets military training with civilian jobs
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, outlined how the proposed Troop Talent Act of 2013 would help reduce unemployment among recently returned Ohio service members and ease their transition into the civilian work force.
The unemployment rate among recent Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is nearly double Ohio’s overall employment rate.
At a press conference Tuesday at American Legion Post 301, Brown, a senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said he supports the Troop Talent Act of 2013 because it would ensure a clearer and easier path to matching military skills with civilian job accreditation.
Brown was joined at the press conference by Youngstown native Marine Sgt. Bryant L. Jackson, a Purple Heart recipient, who has been unable to find a civilian job that would use the skills he learned in the military.
Jackson suffered a serious leg injury from an improvised explosive device while serving as a field-radio operator while serving in Afghanistan. He is a 2005 graduate of Chaney High School.
He said he supports the bill because of the problem he has had finding work that uses the skills gained from two years of military electronics training and plus more years of practical experience in the field.
“A lot of civilian employers don’t understand how military training applies to their needs,” said Jackson of Boardman, who said he was speaking for himself and on behalf of other veterans who have returned home and are looking for work.
Jackson, a probation officer with the Community Corrections Association office in Youngstown, is studying sociology and addiction prevention online through the University of Phoenix.
“Veterans who serve their country in order to protect our freedoms deserve every opportunity to find work when they come home,” Brown said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans in Ohio is 13.9 percent, almost twice the rate for the rest of the state, which is 5.8 percent.
Brown outlined how the Troop Talent Act of 2013 would help veterans find jobs that relate to their military training when they transition back to civilian life.
Specifically it would establish new resources to better match the skills service members acquired through military training with the skills sought by employers; bolster efforts to streamline the military-to-civilian licensing and credentialing process; and help veterans obtain civilian licenses and certifications from training and experience received in the military.
The Defense Department has established a pilot program that attempts to match the skills of service members to various jobs and fields, including aircraft mechanics, automotive mechanics, health-care professions, supply and logistics personnel and truck drivers.
The Troop Talent Act would expand the program to include information technology, one of the fastest-growing fields in the country with a high demand for skilled workers.
Also participating in the press conference was Barry Landgraver, director of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission, who urged veterans to call his office at 330-740-2450 for information about benefits and job guidance.