Posted on Feb 19, 2011
You might think that the national unemployment rate is shockingly high at nine percent – but that is nothing compared with the unemployment rate for veterans and veterans with disabilities. According to the latest statistics compiled by researchers at Cornell University, 27 percent of healthy, working-age veterans are unemployed, while a staggering 41 percent of disabled veterans between the ages of 21 and 65 are unemployed.

Why are so many disabled veterans unemployed, despite their want and need for work? Many veterans’ advocates believe that the answer might be as simple as a lack of information, education, and training on the part of the employer. With veterans returning from the two most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of troops are returning from tours with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Although many servicemen and servicewomen are employable even with these conditions, many employers do not know how to work with those suffering from these disabilities.

Unfortunately, the study found that while many companies wanted to work with veterans and even accommodate their disabilities, few actually had the tools to do so. A lack of awareness and education about both PTSD and TBI in the workplace makes it extremely difficult for employers to help veterans succeed at work and to overcome their hardships after their military career has ended. The study also found that many employers were under the false impression that accommodating a disabled veteran would be costly, when in fact most accommodations simply consist of providing an open, honest, understanding, and trusting workplace.

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James R. Keller
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