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POTUS Makes it Clear: Hiring Vets Is Good Business

Posted by Paul Rieckhoff on August 5

The mind-numbing debt ceiling debate dominated headlines for what seems like all summer. That changed a bit today, when President Obama announced his New Veterans’ Employment Initiative at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. This call to action couldn’t come at a more crucial time – according to the Bureau of Labor, 12.4 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan vets are unemployed, as of July. That is more than three percentage points higher than the national average. Last time we polled IAVA’s membership, they reported close to 20 percent unemployment. In states like Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota, that figure is as high as nearly 30 percent.

In real numbers, that’s only about 232,000 new veterans struggling to find work. That’s a number small enough that if our nation really focused on it, we could make a real dent. Especially when you consider a company like Walmart employs more than 2 million people alone. We all know most of the jobs (for veterans, and
anyone else) have to come from the private sector. But Washington can play a
critical role too.

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