End of Iraq War means beginning of job search for veterans
Thu, 15 Dec 2011 02:55:15 GMT —
With the Iraq War coming to an end after nearly a decade, troops returning home might find themselves in a job market without many jobs available.
In 2008, Jace Truett left the Army as an E4 Corporal, but now as a civilian, he's yet to find a fulltime job that will support him.
"It literally took me eight months to find a part-time job," said Truett. "It was ridiculous."
He's found ways to make the ends meet in the meantime and is currently using his GI Bill to go back to school.
It's a tough reality that former men and women involved in the Iraq War will discover once they exchange their boots for resumes and references.
Wednesday, President Barack Obama met with more than a million troops who served in Iraq to welcome them home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
But Veterans Employment Representative and Army veteran Tony Johnson says the welcome home may not be so pleasant.
"I don't feel like veterans are having any harder time than non-vets just based on the fact that things are just slowing down," said Johnson. What's slowing down is the economy, he said.
He sees about four veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars at the Coastal Workforce Center in Conway a day, and feels the market will be flooded with troops with the Iraq War coming to a close.
"It's definitely going to be hard with more of them coming back at one time, sure. There is only so many jobs here and it's not going to make the amount of jobs open up."
The job market is a challenge for veterans said Johnson because just as many employers shy away from hiring veterans as those who prefer hiring former troops.
Those same challenges forced Truett to work part-time at the Coastal Workforce Center himself. But as he only makes minimum wage and only can work 25 hours a week, the bills continue to pile up.
And while he worries about his own future, Truett worries just as much for his brothers and sisters coming home.
"For them, it's going to be extremely hard because a lot of them do have families," he said. "It's going to be really hard to provide for them. I just feel bad for them when they come back. I really do."