ALEXANDRIA, Va. (8/21/12)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board member Michael Fryzel challenged credit unions to "lead the way in the veteran job creation effort" and help create 1,000 new jobs for military veterans.
"If you believe that every person who served this country deserves a chance of holding a job, then lead the way by helping our heroes and hiring a vet," Fryzel told attendees of the Defense Credit Union Council's 49th annual conference in Denver, Colo.
Fryzel noted that tens of thousands of veterans are set to complete their military service in the next few years. While some of the nation's more than 7,000 credit unions may not have the flexibility to add a new staff member, they can aid this credit union effort by writing loans that will help small businesses hire veterans, Fryzel said. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are also working to do more to help small businesses and the economy by advocating for legislation to increase the current 12.25% of assets member business lending cap.
"Credit unions should lead the way in this veterans' job-creation effort--and not be modest about publicizing it," he said. He said defense credit unions can lead this charge. "Show the men and women who have served their country in uniform that no one cares more about them than you. Work to make sure that at least 1,000 of them find good jobs in a tough job market so they can settle back into civilian life, buy a home, raise a family and contribute to their communities. Let your motto be: Help Our Heroes – Hire a Vet," Fryzel said.
Recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures showed an unemployment rate for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of 8.9% for July. While this rate is slightly higher than the 8.3% national unemployment rate, it represents a sharp decline from the 12.4% veteran unemployment rate recorded in July of 2011.
However, the unemployment rate for war veterans between 18 and 24 years of age was 29.1% in 2011, the BLS reported.
Sixty-nine percent of veterans that responded to a recent Prudential/Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America survey said finding a job in the civilian workforce was their greatest challenge post-deployment. Explaining how military skills translate into the civilian workforce presented a challenge to 60% of respondents. The survey also found that 24% of respondents believe that employers avoid hiring veterans.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is working with a number of businesses in a bid to hire 500,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014. The Transition Assistance Program, which assists veterans with educational and job training efforts, has also been recently revised by the Obama administration, and federal employers have also increased efforts to hire veterans. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service also provides tax breaks to employers that hire veterans through its Work Opportunity Tax Credit.