Soldiers returning home from war in Iraq and Afghanistan face challenges on at least two separate fronts: family and work.
Reintegrating into home and family life, as well as transferring their military skills to the civlian job market, are two areas where soldiers need support.
When the economy is tight and the job market is down, the challenges get even tougher. Unemployment and financial worries can put added strain on a military family, just when soldiers are trying to get comfortable being home.
The Labor Department estimated that 12.1 percent of veterans who served in the military since 9/11 were unemployed in October 2011, higher than the national rate of 9 percent.
TAX CREDITS TO HIRE VETERANS
To encourage businesses to hire veterans, President Obama introduced a package of tax credits of up to $5,600 for businesses that hire a veteran who has been unemployed for six months or more.
Another suggested tax credit would provide $9,600 for companies that hire an injured vet who has been unemployed that long.
As further incentive to hire veterans, another proposed credit would repeal a proposed requirement to withhold 3 percent of payments to federal, state and some local government contractors with unpaid taxes.
A COUNTRY UNITED BEHIND RETURNING SOLDIERS
Congressional lawmakers from both sides stood and applauded the President who stated, "I expect both sides of the aisle to stand up for our veterans.”
With American soldiers leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 million service members are expected to depart the military by 2016 and enter the job market.
In the past, returning soldiers struggled to translate their skills into the civilian work force and some companies were reluctant to hire veterans due to fears about mental health issues.
"Without using every option available to assist them, unemployment for veterans will only rise with the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Bob Wallace, executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
As veterans, you deserve nothing less than a smooth welcome home with full employment after your service.