Welcoming Our Heroes at Holidays, Into Job Market

On December 25, 2011 President Barack Obama and his family attended Christmas services with U.S. military members at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the island of Oahu.   Afterwards, the Obama family joined the service members for Christmas lunch and thanked them for their service.

With the official end to the Iraq war occurring earlier this month, the term “home for the holidays” took on a special meaning for many military veterans and families this holiday season, as reunions with loved ones took place across the country.  A glimpse into some of the heartwarming reunions captured on video can be seen on sites including the Welcome Home Blog and GodVine.

As the new year dawns, many military veterans will face unique challenges in gaining employment, as they return home to a national unemployment rate hovering around 8.6%.  However, with access to high quality postsecondary education programs and veteran-specific career resources, our military veteran heroes should experience an improved career outlook in the new year and beyond.

Military veterans can utilize their education benefits to access high quality postsecondary education, which can help ease the transition into civilian life and lead to lasting economic and social benefits. College degrees continue to serve as a highly valuable tool for gaining employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for individuals with at least a Bachelor’s degree is 4.2%, compared to 8.4%, for those with only a high school diploma.  Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2014, 90% of the fastest-growing careers will require some higher education.

Mid-America Christian University Adult Undergraduate and Graduate DegreesChristian universities offer rich opportunities for military veterans to pursue flexible and rewarding degree programs.  Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including accelerated programs that can be completed on campus or online.

Military veterans can benefit from an increasing number of programs and resources that are designed to help veterans translate the skills they have developed through their military experience into the business world, as well as increase employment opportunities for veterans.

In November, President Obama signed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which includes tax credits for businesses hiring unemployed veterans, known as the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, and tax credits for businesses hiring veterans with service-related disabilities, known as the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit, as well as job training and counseling for unemployed veterans.  A growing number of businesses, including Sears, are pledging to make the hiring of veterans a priority.

Additional military veteran employment programs and resources include the following:

  • National Guard Employment Program Employment program that provides training and support for each state’s National Guard Command, as well as for all National Guardsmen and their families
  •  My HealtheVet Portal Online tool administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for on-demand access and download of official data regarding veterans’ military training and experience, which can be used to help them find jobs and continue their careers
  • Operation Warfighter Program Federal internship program for wounded, ill, and injured service members

Explore further information on military-friendly Christian colleges and universities.