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Grim reality: 21 percent of young American veterans are jobless

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Stark and unsettling employment numbers for an overlooked demographic have been released by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, a research group that tracks month-to-month employment among American vets, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics. The reality: a fifth of the nation’s young warriors are jobless.

“The nation’s youngest veterans, ages 20-24, are experiencing one of the highest unemployment rates at 21 percent,” the research says.

It notes the rate is 7 percentage points higher than that of non-veteran peers of the same age, adding, “Approximately 68 percent of post-9/11 veterans ages 20-24 have been unemployed for more than five weeks.”

There is ongoing movement at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other civic groups to remedy the situation.

Walmart has now pledged to offer a job to any honorably discharged U.S. armed forces veteran within the first 12 months off of active duty. The retailer projects that it will hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years.

“Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make,” says Bill Simon, president and CEO of the mega-company, and a Navy vet. He also advised fellow CEOs at 50 U.S. companies to follow his lead, and has committed $20 million to help vets transition into the civilian workforce through job training and education programs.

“Every company in America has benefited from the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform,” says Mr. Simon. “The biggest issue facing our veterans today is jobs. Sadly, too many of those who fought for us abroad now find themselves fighting for jobs at home.”

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