Finding jobs for veterans is a problem that is being solved.Unemployment among veterans in Illinois is 8.1 percent, less than the overall unemployment rate of 8.7 percent. For veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s only slightly higher, at 9.5 percent. Nationally, post-9-11 veterans have an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent.
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Jay Rowell, director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security, says his agency has been working to convert veterans’ military skills into civilian jobs. “One of the things we do with veterans is try and work on translating those skills, and at Illinois Job Link, which is our no-cost job board, you can actually type in your military occupation, and it will automatically translate it for you to the civilian world, which really gives veterans a leg up because it moves what their job skills are to the private sector,” he said.
The agency has 60 staffers, all veterans themselves, who help veterans find work, and who will work with tens of thousands of veterans in Illinois this year. Unemployment among recent veterans was a problem in recent years, but businesses have committed to hiring veterans, which has helped.