Almost 2,400 National Guardsmen from the state of Washington deployed to Iraq and returned in August. Now almost 40% are still looking for work.
The unemployed veterans of the 81st Combat Team are not alone. The unemployment rate for veterans is nearly double that of the rest of the population and some government officials and politicians are starting to take notice.
Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) plans to introduce legislation that would provide additional training and support to unemployed veterans. Murray’s bill would also put veterans to work in a corps that would restore natural habitats, maintain local forests and parks, and improve storm-water facilities.
Raymond Jefferson, assistant labor secretary for veterans employment and training thinks that a review of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) might be in order. Jefferson said that the program hasn’t been updated in years and the content needs to become “more economically relevant, immediately applicable and engaging for participants.”