Homelessness among military veterans is a growing problem and a prominent national issue that is widely viewed as shameful and preventable to most Americans. The 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment report (prepared by HUD) estimates that there were more than 62,619 homeless veterans on a single night during January in the United States.
Generally speaking, there are various transition enhancement programs available for returning veterans such as the 2011 President's Executive Order 13518, "Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force." This measure is specifically designed to bolster recruitment and employment by providing various tax credits and other incentives to employers that hire deserving returning veterans. There is also the Department of Defense's "Transition Assistance Program" (TAP), that trains separating veterans on crossing the cultural bridge to the civilian world.
The moment has arrived. You are currently applying for an employment position with a new organization and you inevitably reach the part of the job application that asks for self- identification and voluntary disclosure of any disabilities. Before answering the question(s), you instantly pause as your mind imagines the possibilities of how your personal health information may be interpreted by the prospective employer... you wonder, if your condition could somehow subject you to being ostracized and treated differently than any of your future employee counterparts?
Dr. Philip S. Wang, of the National Institute of Mental Health Alliance for Research Progress in Bethesda, MD states, "Some data is emerging that employer interventions can improve productivity and reduce employee turnover ..."
More veterans are utilizing VA and medical facilities to help treat some catastrophic battlefield conditions and regain functionality for basic ambulatory functions such as walking, holding and placing objects, along with sight functions. Many medical innovators are discovering more creative and technological ways to help restore a person's ability to live a somewhat 'normal' and comfortable lifestyle after combat.
There is a sea of information relating to how service members can translate their skills to the civilian workforce and improve their resumes. The information can be confusing and conflicting; colleges, employers, and placement advocacy entities all have different, if not contradicting, information.
Many organizations now have very aggressive hiring goals towards returning veterans and people with disabilities. This focus is especially relevant during an era where people with disabilities are the largest minority group, represent the highest segment of the unemployed in the US and the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are returning from combat.
As America is coming out of the two longest wars in its history the government is working to bring down the unemployment rates of veterans. Agencies are working to ensure employers are adhering to proper regulations related to the recruitment and hiring of veterans along with other groups. Veterans Service Organizations have grown tenfold as well yet unemployment remains high for those who have served.
The wait is finally over! After months of speculation, OFCCP has officially released the final ruling on the new regulations for Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).
This past Fourth of July holiday, I brought my family with me to visit Philadelphia for a weekend of good food, tourism, patriotism, entertainment and fireworks displays.