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Part 3: Combatting Joblessness Among Returning Vets

(Job training at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center.  Photo by Pat Loeb)

(Job training at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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Regional Affairs Council - June 2011

When the US begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next month, thousands of veterans will return to our area in need of jobs.

(Sound of recruiter talking about available jobs)

With job fairs like this one, just for veterans, and a “veteran’s preference” on many job applications, you’d think veterans would be the most employable group in the country.

(Recruiter to job applicant:) “Right now we don’t have any CDL (commercial driver’s license) driver positions available…”

But the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says unemployment is higher than average for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.  The reasons are complicated, but some veterans think employers are leery of them.

diamond bill side loeb Part 3:  Combatting Joblessness Among Returning Vets

(Bill Diamond.)

Bill Diamond (right), a job counselor at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center, agrees.

“I just don’t think people trust veterans now anyway,” he says.  “I think they have a connotation of these ‘crazy’ vets coming home, you know?”

It is true that about a quarter of recent veterans have behavioral health issues, notably post-traumatic stress disorder (see Part 2), which can lead to substance abuse, even incarceration, further complicating the job search.

four marsha side loeb Part 3:  Combatting Joblessness Among Returning Vets

(Marsha Four. Photo by Pat Loeb)

But Marsha Four (right), director of the Veterans Multi-Service Center in Philadelphia, says it still seems that vets are getting a raw deal.

“You know, they’ve been through a lot, and now they come home and they have to go through this situation also,” she says.

Extended interview with Marsha Four


The vets’ center offers job training, and sometimes actual jobs.

Kevin Miracle, suffering from PTSD, was at his wit’s end looking for work until the center hired him to do office work, even though he had no experience.

“I was going to Walmart, Acme, things I thought were beneath me, that were going to be humiliating,” he recalls, “and they turned me down!  Told me I was overqualified.”

His message to employers is that veterans make excellent workers.

“They take orders well — they only need to be told to do something once.  They’re always on time.  They’ve lived this regimented life. They’re going to be the best employees you have,” Miracle says.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

Listen to the KYW Regional Affairs Council series, “Coming Home,” by Pat Loeb…

Part 1: The ‘Signature Injury’ of This War


Part 2: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Part 3: Combatting Joblessness Among Vets


Part 4: Combatting Homelessness Among Vets



Additional e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d podcasts:

Pat Loeb interviews traumatic brain injury survivor Lt. Sam Console


Pat Loeb interviews traumatic brain injury expert Kacy Cullen


TBI survivor Sam Console talks about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Gulf War veteran Kevin Miracle talks about living with PTSD


Dr. Edna Foa of the University of Pennsylvania describes her “prolonged exposure” therapy for PTSD


Marsha Four, director of the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center, on veteran unemployment


Kevin Miracle, a once-jobless Gulf War vet now working at the Philadelphia Multi-Service Center


Vincent Kane, director of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans