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Witness Testimony of Mr. Theodore (Ted) L. Daywalt, CEO and President VetJobs

Despite the impression from press reports, the employment situation of veterans as a group has always been positive. In fact, the unemployment rate for ALL veterans has always been lower than nonveterans and lower than the national unemployment rate.

While the national unemployment rate for all veterans was only 7.7% (CPS) in December 2011, there is an unemployment issue for young veterans, but it is not as many think because the young veterans lack skills or served in the current wars. The unemployment rate for young veterans had historically been comparable to the national unemployment rate until 2007, at which time the 18 to 24 year old veteran unemployment rate and to some degree the 25 to 29 year old unemployment rate started rising rapidly. The rise in the young veteran unemployment rate is a direct result of a DOD call up policy implemented in January 2007. The call up policy caused employers to not want to hire members of the National Guard which led to the high unemployment rate in young veterans.

The information and data in this testimony will demonstrate the high unemployment rate of young veterans is a direct result of their participation in the National Guard and Reserve and the current call up policy. Due to the constant activation of the National Guard upwards of 65% of employers will not now hire as a new employee anyone who is an active member of the National Guard. The result is the exceptionally high unemployment rate of young veterans. The unemployment rate of 18 to 24 year old veterans in November, 2011, was 37.9%, comprising 95,000 veterans and fell to 31.0% in December, comprising 74,000 veterans. While BLS statistics do not distinguish between veterans and active members of the National Guard, the data presented in this report leads me to believe the bulk of these unemployed veterans are in the National Guard.

If a veteran has totally separated from the military, retired, or is a wounded warrior, they are for the most part finding employment. This is not to say some are not having difficulties in this rough economy. One can always find an exception. But if a veteran remains active in the National Guard, they are having a difficult time finding meaningful employment due to the constant call ups and deployment schedules.

Young veteran unemployment in the National Guard will become worse as they try to compete against veterans who will be downsized from the active duty forces. Young veteran unemployment in the National Guard could reach 50% if there is not a change in policy.

Veterans do very well in the following disciplines: information technology, project management, consulting, sales, linguists, logistics, transportation, human resources, education,  construction, manufacturing, engineering, finance, banking, healthcare, senior executives and expatriates.

WRITTEN TESTIMONY

Introduction

Good morning, Chairman, members and staff of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs (HVAC).

I am very pleased the HVAC is addressing the issue of National Guard unemployment. The National Guard unemployment problem is intertwined with the Federal Reserve forces unemployment.

VetJobs (www.vetjobs.com) has a unique vantage point on these discussions as by the nature of our business over the last thirteen years, VetJobs deals with veterans and their family members on a daily basis who are pursuing employment. We deal with all veterans, including Officer and Enlisted, Active Duty, Transitioning Military, Reservists, Veterans and Retirees, of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, National Guard, Navy, NOAA and Public Health Service, DOD civilians and their family members. VetJobs has been fortunate in being successful in assisting them in finding employment for thirteen years.

Our interest in the National Guard and Reserve became heightened when the 20 to 24 year old young veteran unemployment rate doubled when it went from 10.4% in 2006 to 22.3% in 2007 following the introduction of the current call up policy in January 2007. That increase was the initial warning bell that there would be significant increases in employment problems for members of the National Guard and Reserve directly related to the change in the call up policy.

In order to solve a problem one must effectively analyze, define and identify the problem and its causes. If one does not understand the sources of the problem, well-meaning solutions that are chosen will not work, or worse, will not address the problem at all.

Working on a solution to the National Guard and Reserve unemployment problem is important. I am convinced that there are those at DOD who were aware this problem existed, but for various bureaucratic and political reasons have been trying to pretend the issue does not exist and have been kicking the can down the road for someone else to deal with in the future. That might be good for a bureaucrat’s career, but the young members of the National Guard and Reserve who have families to support should be given better treatment. The component members are being made to suffer from bureaucratic policies, and that is not a fair thing to do to the very people who have been fighting for our country and freedoms.

For example, in a discussion with a former head of a Reserve force, I was told that not one of his Reservists was having a problem finding a job. He was parroting policy, but it was a flawed policy because at the time many Reservists were having problems finding employment due to the call up policy. The same issue affects the National Guard.

What follows is a discussion of my observations of the National Guard and Reserve unemployment issue with an emphasis on the National Guard. My observations are as a former drilling Navy Reservist and as a businessman managing the leading military related internet employment site that interacts with state and federal agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and businesses seeking to hire transitioning military, veterans, National Guard, Reservists and their family members.

Due to the myths and misunderstandings in the press regarding veteran unemployment, I present the following documentation about what is actually happening and why the National Guard in particular is where the true veteran unemployment problem exists.

Following the discussion I offer potential solutions for consideration. Having studied this issue for nearly a decade, I have found there is no silver bullet that will solve the National Guard unemployment problem. But a combination of policy changes and utilizing existing public and private sector resources will go a long way towards assisting those members of the National Guard who need help.

While this testimony is concentrating on the National Guard, the Federal Reserve faces many of the same issues.

I want to emphasize from the outset that I am very supportive of an operational National Guard and Reserve. In the later years of my time as a drilling Navy Reservist in the Naval Reserve Intelligence Program we stressed making our Reserve Intelligence units operational, which proved very beneficial during the first Gulf War. Having an operational National Guard and Reserve makes the United States stronger on the national stage. But the use of the National Guard and Reserve needs to be done in such a way as to still let the component member maintain a continuum of civilian employment.

National Guard Employment Issues

Listening to the mainstream press and certain government executives, one would think the majority of veterans are unemployed, have PTSD or lack civilian work skills. For example, a senior representative from a government agency speaking at the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) 62nd National Conference in Las Vegas in June 2011 left the audience with the impression that most veterans have PTSD, do not have skills and are unemployable. Her speech was that veterans were broken. Fortunately, that is NOT the case.

The real story is that most veterans are finding jobs when they leave the active military and the unemployment rate for all veterans as a group has ALWAYS been lower than the national unemployment rate. While there will always be those select individuals who have problems finding work, as a whole, the veteran employment rate has historically done quite well when compared to their civilian and nonveteran counterparts, even during the current chronically bad economy.

In the following sections I will discuss why employers hire veterans, provide evidence of the veteran unemployment rate being lower than the nonveteran unemployment rate, provide background to the real veteran unemployment problem area which is the National Guard and to some extent the reserve, discuss some high points of veteran employment, and present recommendations to address the National Guard unemployment problem.

When looking at overall veteran unemployment, it helps to understand that from an employment perspective, there are three groups that comprise the post military service veteran employment and unemployment picture. The first group would be those who are transitioning off active duty and who are most frequently referred to as veterans. The second group is comprised of the Federal Reservists of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. The third group is the National Guard. Today I will concentrate on the National Guard issues. While all three groups are veterans, it helps to make the distinctions when analyzing the unemployment issue.

Of the three groups, the National Guard has unique problems. Unlike active duty component members, when they return from war they are demobilized and thus do not have a ready source of income unless they can find or have a civilian job. Given the bias against hiring National Guard members due to the call up policy and high operation tempo (discussed further below), National Guard members have problems maintaining a continuum of service with a civilian employer. This leads to financial difficulties and a host of family and personal problems for the National Guard participant.

When National Guard demobilizes they do not have the ready access to resources like active duty members to deal with employment search, mental illness issues, physical healthcare and family counseling.

As a primer, it helps to understand why civilian employers hire veterans.

Why Employers Hire Veterans

Leading reasons why employers hire veterans include the following:

Proven Leadership: Veterans are put into leadership roles at early stages of their time in the service. The real world, front line and often battle proven leadership developed in the military is well beyond that of a similar person in a civilian job.

Mission Focused: Every member of the military is used to working in an environment that is focused on the mission at hand. They are not clock watchers, but rather are focused on what it takes to be successful in their mission.

Team Players: From the early stages of initial training, all members of the military are used to working in a team environment. Some teams are small, others very large, but all members of the team know that their individual efforts are to support the team in reaching the larger objective.

Work Ethic: The work ethic of veterans is unparalleled due to the need to depend on each other for their lives. Every military person knows that their life and success depends on their teammates. As a result, the work ethic of veterans is vastly stronger than the normal civilian work ethic. People who have served in the military are used to working long hours in non-traditional environments.

Skill Training and Education: Today's veterans have been trained in nearly every occupation imaginable, with a strong emphasis on technology. Most of the training schools of the military that teach technology, leadership, recruiting (sales), management and operations surpass those available to civilians.

Immediate Contributor: Veterans, through their proven experiences in the military, become valuable contributors from day one of employment. Veterans are used to being challenged, encouraged to demonstrate initiative, think quickly on their feet and give recognition for performance to those who earn it.

Background Checks and Security Clearances: Over 90% of those in the military have had extensive background checks for various levels of security clearances. When a company hires a veteran, the veteran is less likely to become a risk to the company or its operation. If a company requires security clearances, a veteran can save the company a great deal of money on special background investigations since the veteran’s clearance can be transferred in status.

Government Paid Relocation Assistance: When leaving active duty, veterans are given government paid relocation. The amount of this assistance varies with each individual, but it can save company money that can be used for other purposes.

CES versus CPS

There has been a lot of confusion in the press regarding veteran unemployment rates because there are two unemployment reports generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and many reports do not specify which unemployment rate they are using.

One is the Current Employment Statistics (CES), also referred to as the Current Employer Survey, which is a survey of mostly large companies and government agencies reports on hires and layoffs to determine how many jobs were added or lost each month. The CES does not have a good representation of small businesses which is where most new jobs are created.

The second report is the Current Population Survey (CPS), frequently called the household survey. The CPS is a joint effort between the BLS and the Census Bureau. The CPS picks up hiring by companies of all sizes, new companies, farm workers and the self-employed who are not included in the CES. The CPS has been shown to be more reliable and does a better job of picking up the shift in hiring because it includes small business hiring.

For the purposes of this testimony I am using CPS data instead of CES data.

When referring to veterans in the below charts, veterans are defined as individuals who previously served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were civilians at the time they were surveyed.  Nonveterans are persons who have never served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Veteran Unemployment Rate Lower than Nonveteran

Historically, veteran unemployment has been lower than nonveteran unemployment. The below chart is annual data from the CPS and demonstrates that veteran unemployment has always been lower than the nonveteran unemployment.

 

Unemployment rates of persons 20 years and over, annual averages 1986-2011.

Total, both sexes (percent)

 

Year

Total, 20 years and over

Veterans

Nonveterans

1986

6.2

5.1

6.4

1987

5.4

4.8

5.6

1988

4.8

4.1

5.0

1989

4.6

3.7

4.8

1990

4.9

4.2

5.0

1991

6.1

5.4

6.1

1992

6.8

6.0

6.8

1993

6.2

5.8

6.2

1994

5.4

5.0

5.5

1995

4.9

4.1

5.0

1996

4.7

3.9

4.8

1997

4.3

3.4

4.4

1998

3.9

3.2

4.0

1999

3.6

3.2

3.7

2000

3.4

2.9

3.5

2001

4.2

3.6

4.2

2002

5.2

4.7

5.2

2003

5.4

5.0

5.4

2004

4.9

4.6

5.0

2005

4.5

4.0

4.6

2006

4.1

3.8

4.1

2007

4.1

3.8

4.1

2008

5.2

4.6

5.2

2009

8.6

8.1

8.6

2010

9.0

8.7

9.0

2011

8.3

8.3

8.4

 

Chart #1: Historical unemployment rates

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Veteran Employment Problem is in the National Guard

Recently, the national press has highlighted the unemployment rate of the 18 to 24 year old veterans implying their participation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has hurt their ability to find civilian employment. This is NOT the case.

BLS changed reporting procedures so some charts in this presentation will have 18 to 24 while others have 20 to 24 year olds.

The 20 to 24 year old veteran unemployment rate was comparable with their civilian counter parts up to 2007 and then the unemployment rate for the 20 to 24 year old veterans started to climb and sometimes doubled their civilian counterparts.

Chart #2 provides annual unemployment rates for the last eleven years. Note that the 20 to 24 year old veteran unemployment rates start to rise rapidly in 2007.

Year

Nonveteran

Veteran

Nonveteran

Veteran

 

20-24

20 - 24

25 - 29

25 -29

2000

7.2%

8.0%

4.2%

3.0%

2001

8.3%

9.6%

5.0%

4.2%

2002

9.6%

11.2%

6.5%

5.8%

2003

10.0%

11.0%

6.6%

6.8%

2004

9.4%

13.6%

6.1%

7.2%

2005

8.7%

15.6%

5.8%

6.5%

2006

8.1%

10.4%

5.1%

6.5%

2007

14.5%

22.3%

5.1%

6.4%

2008

11.6%

14.1%

6.5%

6.1%

2009

14.6%

21.2%

10.6%

12.1%

2010

15.4%

20.6%

10.7%

14.9%

 

Chart #2:20 to 24 and 25 to 29 year olds - nonveterans and veterans

Source: BLS CPS veteran report

From the above CPS data, the 20 to 24 year old veteran group’s unemployment greatly exceeds the nonveteran group starting in 2007. Both BLS unemployment surveys (CES and CPS) trend in the same direction.

There are various reasons why the overall unemployment rate of the 20 to 24 year old group is high, including education, skill levels and the lack of work experience. But there is an added reason why the veteran unemployment rate for this age group is high.

Understand that if a person is on active duty, they are not classified as unemployed by BLS. But if a person is in the National Guard and does not have a civilian job, they are classified by BLS as unemployed. Most active duty 18 to 24 year old military people are still finishing out their 4, 6 or 8 year obligation, thus are not counted as unemployed. And they are gaining marketable skills wanted by civilian employers while on active duty.

The large differences in unemployment rates for 18 to 24 year old veterans continued into 2011. Chart #3 is the CPS data for 18 to 24 year old veterans unemployment compared to nonveterans by month through 2011:

Month

Nonveteran

Veteran

# Veterans

January

18.10%

31.90%

67,000

February

17.20%

28.60%

59,000

March

16.10%

28.80%

57,000

April

15.30%

26.80%

50,000

May

16.30%

31.90%

60,000

June

17.10%

26.20%

53,000

July

16.50%

19.80%

39,000

August

16.30%

30.40%

66,000

September

16.30%

35.60%

83,000

October

15.40%

30.45%

71,000

November

15.30%

37.90%

95,000

December

14.60%

31.00%

74,000

                                   

Chart #3, Nonveteran versus Veteran 18 to 24 year old veterans

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Note the number of unemployed veterans for each month. The active duty military did not release 67,000 18 to 24 year olds in January or the numbers for the other months. To have so many “unemployed” in the 18 to 24 year old age group, the majority of the participants would have to be in the National Guard and to some extent, the Reserve.

Change in Call Up Policy

During a press conference on January 11, 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that the policy on the use of the National Guard and Reserve was changing.

The previous Pentagon's policy on the National Guard and Reserve had been that members' cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit was lifted; the remaining limit would be on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months. What this meant was a National Guard member could be mobilized for up to a 24-month tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, be demobilized and allowed to return to a civilian working life, only to be mobilized a second time for as much as an additional 24 months for a total of 48 months in any 60 month period. In practice, most members of the National Guard have been called up for only 12 to 18 months and then released back to the civilian work force. Many have then been recalled again.

Due to not being able to find a job many members of the National Guard have volunteered for a second or third deployment. They volunteer because they have financial obligations and/or families they need to support. With these pressing obligations, if the only way to earn money is to go back to war, then they volunteer to go back.

The current call up policy has had long term negative consequences for members of the National Guard. One must remember that employer support for the National Guard is necessary to make the system work.

The 18 to 24 and 25 to 29 year old veterans are the age groups that dominate much of the National Guard. I am convinced that the high veteran unemployment rate in this age group is due to the current DOD call up policy. I also submit that employers will no longer support having their most important asset, their human capital, taken away for 12 months at a time.

From a business point of view, one must understand that companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to run an efficient and profitable operation, but they cannot do so if they cannot count on the availability of their employees. While for a business person this is common sense, those making the decisions on how to utilize the National Guard seem to have missed what corporate America is saying about extended call-ups. They will not support having their employees gone for long periods of time.

History

An understanding of the history as to how we have arrived at this point can be instrumental in identifying and choosing the right solutions.

The National Guard and Reserve system as it is used in the United States has been very effective for over a century. It has worked in large part due to the outstanding support by the employers of corporate America and municipal and state governments. But that support has been strained since 9/11, and especially since 2007 with the policy change that has resulted in many call ups of the National Guard in support of overseas operations.

The call ups for Iraq and Afghanistan represent the largest call up of part-time troops since the Korean War. Many of the National Guard personnel have been called up multiple times, especially if they have high demand specialized technical skills or sensitive security clearances.

While the Pentagon's stated goal has been to mobilize National Guard and Reserve units no more frequently than one year in six, the demands of wartime required calling up units much more often.

I come from Georgia where the Georgia National Guard has been called up six (6) times in 10 years! If a member of the Georgia National Guard has been on three or more of those call ups, it is very difficult to keep a civilian job. Many other state National Guard units have faced similar frequent call ups.

Employers are uncomfortable since long periods of employee absences are not what they had anticipated or had been accustomed to in the past century. Employers have endured watching their National Guard employee’s call up time move from 30 days, to 90 days, to six months and then to one year.

The employer’s playing field since 2007 has changed with regard to the DOD use of the employer’s National Guard employees. The employers feel disenfranchised since as employers they had no input on the new use of their National Guard employees, and they have no practical ability to replace the absent employee who is called up for long periods of time. This is especially burdensome to small and medium size employers and to employers in rural areas.

The problem of who “owns” the employee has been around since 1903. While DOD considers members of the National Guard to be their assets on loan to civilian employers, the reality is the National Guard component members belong to the civilian employers and are on loan to DOD or the National Guard unit.

Please keep in mind that overwhelmingly participants in the National Guard come from rural areas. When they are called to active duty and leave their job, it is hard for employers to find replacements, especially if it is a critical position or a management or executive position.

Historically, the National Guard had been fully activated only once, for World War II. See Appendix 1 from the National Guard Association of the United States for a listing of major National Guard call ups.

From the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1903, there was a partial call up of the National Guard and Reserve for WWI, a full call up for WWII, and a partial call up for the Korean War. Of the 37,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve who fought in the Vietnam War, most were volunteers. The limited combat activities between the Vietnam War and the Gulf War were for the most part fought with active duty troops.

However, since the 1991 Gulf War there have been over thirty (30) call ups of the National Guard. This has put a tremendous strain on the National Guard system and the relations of those component military participants with their employers.

In addition to call ups to support overseas actions, there has been an increase in the traditional uses of the National Guard here at home for emergencies. Examples include Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Irene and flooding along the East Coast. The National Guard is now involved in border operations against illegal immigrants and removing snow from avalanches in the western states. Many western states regularly count on their National Guard units to help fight fires each summer.

The ability by states to use their National Guard units in their traditional roles has been disrupted with the many DOD call ups for Afghanistan and Iraq. And the equipment that historically had been used to fight the fires is no longer available as the equipment has been used for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Combat use has destroyed much of the National Guard’s equipment which has yet to be replaced.

This higher pace of activity has put a tremendous strain on the National Guard citizen soldier system and the relations of those military participants with their civilian employers. This has placed a significant number of National Guard members in the tenuous position of trying to serve two masters at the same time.

The increase in National Guard unemployment may explain why there has been an exponential increase in veterans applying for unemployment benefits since 2008.

Unintended Consequences

The result of the current call up policy has had unintended consequences which are not favorable, either for employees or companies.

Evidence that there is a trend in declining support by employers for employees who participate in the National Guard comes from Workforce Management Magazine (www.workforce.com). The readership of Workforce Management Magazine is primarily corporate executives and members of the Human Resource profession.

Workforce Management Magazine ran two polls of its readers regarding the hardships that are being imposed on employers who want to support their National Guard and Reserve participating employees. The first question which was posted the week of January 8, 2007, asked:

Does your company have employees deployed in Iraq, and is this a hardship for your business?

The answers from 335 executive and human resource managers are disturbing.
Yes – 67%
No – 31%
I don't know – 2%

Following the results of the January 8 poll and in light of the new DOD policy regarding the National Guard and Reserve announced on January 11, 2007, the second poll which ran the week of January 15 asked:

If you, as an employer, knew that a military reservist or National Guard member could be called up and taken away from their job for an indeterminate amount of time, would you still hire a citizen solider? (All answers are confidential.)

The results to this question from 389 respondents are even more disturbing.

Yes – 29%
No – 54%
I don't know – 17%

I suspect that many of the “don’t knows” in the second survey had a patriotic twinge or were concerned about being identified in some way, and chose “don’t know” instead of “no”. But the fact that there is even one employer who would say no is disturbing.

The Workforce poll was an early indication that corporate support was eroding.

A survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the largest human resource organization in the world and an extremely reliable source, in July of 2006 found some other disturbing trends. The survey was a follow-on survey to one that was conducted in 2004. The 2006 survey found the primary concern among employers was uncertainty about how long employees would be away from their jobs due to National Guard and Reserve activation, which moved from 86% in 2004 to 79% in 2006.

The other concerns in descending order were:

-The burden on remaining employees to cover for open positions - 52% to 60%

-Continuation costs for employees (and their families) called to active duty – 32% to 35%

-Loss of productivity – 16% to 25%

-Effect on active duty employee’s family members (COBRA, etc.) – 24% both years

-Finding temporary workers to fill open positions – 19% to 23 %

-Temporary worker costs for open positions – 13% to 17%  

-Finding a comparable job for returning employees – 16% to 15%

SHRM repeated its survey in 2007 and 2008 and found the following:

 

2007

2008

Provide no direct compensation support

35%

42%

Providing pay differential (the difference between what the employee is paid by the military and what he/she would be making if he/she were working)

45%

40%

Provide pay equal to what the employee would make if not called to active duty

3%

13%

Provide full pay and benefits for a portion of the period of the active duty

10%

6%

Provide full pay and benefits for the entire period of the active duty

6%

1%

Note that since 2007 when the current DOD call up policy went into effect, employer support has fallen significantly in all but one category. A major reason for the decline in support for National Guard and Reserve employees by employers are the financial and legal obligations forced onto the employers by USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act).

What the Workforce Management and SHRM surveys revealed is that support for employees who are active in the National Guard by employers started declining with the change in call up policy. There is a limit to what employers will tolerate and their limit has long since been reached!

It should be made very clear that most companies are very patriotic and were willing to support employees who were in the National Guard and Reserve in the old system before the extended call ups of one year started to take place. Many companies have active military hiring programs and in many cases, encourage managers to hire a veteran, whether the veteran had been active duty, retired or a participant in the National Guard.

Most companies are aware of their obligations to support employees who are active in the National Guard. This is due in large part to the success of the National Committee for Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and SHRM. SHRM has been very proactive in getting the word out about USERRA and the obligations of employers. The Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS) at the Department of Labor is also helpful in this effort.

VetJobs has been receiving calls from veterans and transitioning military who are concerned about employers asking during an interview whether the candidate intends to join or remain active in the National Guard. While the question is patently illegal, there is no real enforcement. If the candidate files a complaint, it becomes a he-said she-said type of issue. The candidates inherently know that if they say yes to joining or remaining in the National Guard, they will not be hired. The fact that some employers are asking this question is disturbing, but it is also understandable.

At VetJobs, we find that if a candidate is totally separated from the military, has retired from the military or is a wounded warrior, the candidates for the most part are finding employment, which is not to say that there are no veterans who are not having problems. In this bad economy many people are having problems finding jobs. But when compared to their civilian counterparts, overall the military candidate is finding employment, which is why the overall employment for veterans in December 2011 was only 7.7%.

What we have found is if a candidate is active in the National Guard, the candidate is having major problems finding meaningful employment.

One final unintended consequence, based on anecdotal information, I would submit that the recent press reports indicating an increase in veterans applying for unemployment compensation is more by members of the National Guard than those transitioning from active duty. At the moment I do not have enough hard evidence to confirm this trend. It would be worth an inquiry from those who have the authority to have DOL provide specifically what type of veterans are applying for unemployment compensation.

Employer Support on the Wane

There are definite reasons why the support for the National Guard and Reserve system as it is currently operated by DOD is not receiving full support from employers. Historically National Guard component members drilled on weekends and most used two weeks of their vacation time to participate in their active duty for training. But current policies by the DOD is calling National Guard personnel from their employers for up to a year a time or longer, and in many cases the employee has been called up several times. This makes it difficult for the component member of the National Guard to not only have a continuum of service in the National Guard, but also a continuum of service with their employer.

The current call up policy makes it hard for employers to plan and depend on having their human capital available to fulfill their corporate mission. While large patriotic companies like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, BNSF Railway, Caterpillar, CACI and many utilities and municipalities actively support the call up of their National Guard and Reserve personnel, it is much harder on smaller firms, especially those firms with less than 300 employees and companies in rural areas. And an overwhelming percentage of those who participate in the National Guard and Reserve are employed in small to mid-sized companies.

Companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to run an efficient and profitable operation. Companies cannot do so if they are unable to count on having their employees, their human capital, available. While for anyone in business this is just common sense, those making the decisions at DOD on how to utilize the National Guard and Reserve seem to have missed what corporate America is saying.

Given a company’s fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders, the current policy regarding the use of the National Guard puts human resource (HR) managers in a quandary. One senior vice president of human resources of a major company explained it to me this way: “If I have three final candidates for a position who are all equally qualified, and one mentions they are active in the National Guard, with the new call up policy I now have two final candidates, especially if it is for a critical position in the company”.

Another senior HR executive at a major company commented to me that, in light of the policy, they will continue to support current employees who have been activated, but will no longer hire new employees who are in the Guard or Reserve.  I have heard this same sentiment from many HR managers. Many employers were upset they were not consulted. They no longer support the system.

I want to reinforce that I have found corporate America to be very supportive of the military. Corporate America understands the importance of having a strong military to protect our freedoms and our free market economy. Without a strong military, our freedoms and economy would be at risk. However, they cannot go broke supporting the military which is what USERRA does regarding the National Guard due to the legal and fiscal requirements levied by USERRA.

National Guard Unemployment

Anecdotal information indicates that the National Guard is singled out more than their Federal Reserve counterparts. A big part of the reason for the National Guard being singled out by employers is they are activated not only for the wars, but also for state emergencies, causing them to be called away from their civilian employment much more than their Federal Reserve counterparts.

For example, when the Georgia National Guard returned in August 2010 from their fifth call up since 9/11, that fall there were heavy rains in Georgia and extensive flooding took place in Macon and Columbus, Georgia, in September and October. The governor of Georgia activated two Georgia National Guard companies to assist with the flooding. Unfortunately, many of those called up had recently come back from Afghanistan. The result was many were terminated in their civilian jobs or had their civilian employment threatened. Many USERRA complaints ensued.

The flip side to this was many employers who previously had been supportive of their National Guard employees started backing off. From a civilian business perspective, this is very understandable as the employers cannot run their businesses with their human capital being taken away so frequently.

The unemployment problem in the National Guard is reflected in the unemployment rate of returning National Guard brigades. In reality, the brigades left with unemployment as component members do not lose jobs while they are deployed unless a company goes out of business. Overwhelmingly, most lost their jobs in the 160 to 50 days prior to M-day, which is the activation day. The reason for this time frame is National Guard deployments are announced generally four to six months out, but the component members do not get orders in hand until about six weeks from deployment. Employers have been noted terminating members of the National Guard under the guise of the recession after DOD announces a call up knowing that many receive their orders four to six weeks prior to deployment.

Companies have learned that if they lay-off an employee under the guise of the current recession before the employee has orders in hand the company can subvert or circumvent USERRA. VetJobs has received reports of this activity nationwide from DOL veteran representatives, ESGR representatives and directly from the affected National Guard members.

VetJobs works closely with many of the state National Guard units and unfortunately the below listed unemployment rates are not exceptions. Here are some examples of unemployment rates when selected National Guard brigades departed/returned in 2010 and 2011:

-Jacksonville, FL NG Brigade, December 2009, 750 of 2,500 unemployed, 30% unemployment

-Rochester, NY NG Brigade, February 2010, 60 of 500 unemployed, 12% unemployment

-Minnesota NG, February 2010, 30 of 200 unemployed, 15% unemployment

-Oregon NG Brigade, April 2010, 1350 of 2700 unemployed, 50% unemployment

-Nashville, TN NG Brigade, July 2010, 320 of 700 unemployed, 45.71% unemployment

-Iowa NG, July 2011, 750 of 3,000 unemployed, 25% unemployment rate

The above unemployment rates are bad. But current numbers of National Guard unemployment for deployed units are worse.

Two weeks ago I received an email from a LCOL Michael Gafney, MIL USA FORSCOM, who is in Kuwait where thousands of troops are marshaling in preparation to come home. Here are sample unemployment rates he reported for National Guard companies and brigades currently in Kuwait:

MN Brigade     Unemployment: 28%

BDE Units

1204 ASB        MTOE 608            Unemployment: 30%              (182 Soldiers)

1/111GSAB     MTOE 525            Unemployment: 40%              (210 Soldiers) 

HHC 29CAB   MTOE 143            Unemployment: 30%              (102 Soldiers)

Initial contact with the 1/80 (1/180) CAV a ground unit from OK and TX reveals a 68% unemployment rate!

These high unemployment rates in the NG confirm my worst fears regarding this issue.

Increase in USERRA Complaints and Inquiries

Another way of looking at the National Guard unemployment problem is the exponential increase in the number of USERRA complaints and inquiries, which would also include the Reserve.

According to an ESGR annual report, from 2004 to 2006, there were 16,000 informal and formal USERRA complaints or inquiries, or roughly 5,333 a year.

January 2007 saw the implementation of the changed call up policy.

In 2008 ESGR reported 13,090 USERRA inquiries or complaints.

In 2010 ESGR reported 34,612 inquiries or complaints, a 700% increase from 2006.

Of the 34,612, 3,202 resulted in actual USERRA cases for mediation purposes, a 300% increase from 2006.

(Source: http://www.esgr.org/site/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ckPQj0zgF-k%3D&tabid=169 – information is found on page 30

and

http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/FY2010%20USERRA%20Annual%20Report.pdf)

The exponential increase in USERRA inquiries and complaints is a message from corporate America. The message is they want to hire veterans for all the reasons discussed earlier, but they cannot go broke supporting their National Guard employees with constant call ups and all the financial and legal obligations fostered onto the employers by USERRA.

It should be noted that one of the worst USERRA violators over the last ten years has been and continues to be the civilian side of DOD. In the CBS 60 Minutes program regarding USERAA aired on November 2, 2008, Leslie Stahl confronted Deputy Undersecretary Tom Hall regarding the fact that DOD, an agency who is responsible for mediating and enforcing USERRA, is one of the worst violators of USERRA. Hall’s only response to questions was “We have things we need to work on.” To view the program, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/30/60minutes/main4558315_page3.shtml.

 

It is sad that one of the worst violators of USERRA is the very federal agency responsible for enforcing the law!

In the 60 Minutes USERRA program, Dave Miller, vice president of Con-way Freight, an international trucking and logistics firm talks at length about the high financial costs the company is bearing to support their 50 employees who are in the National Guard and Reserve. Con-way Freight has a long reputation of being very pro-military, has been a DOD Freedom Award recipient, but there is a limit as to what a company can bear both financially and legally in supporting their members of the National Guard. As Miller points out in the 60 Minutes program: "If the military's going to take our people 30% of the time let them pay 30% of the healthcare cost.”

The bottom line to the exponential increase in USERRA inquiries and complaints is employers are not so quietly saying they will not support the current call up policy. Employers want to support the military, but they also have to be profitable to remain in business. An employer cannot function efficiently when their most important asset, their human capital, is taken away!

Some people in DOD and DOL may be looking at this problem wrong. Not recognizing that the younger veteran unemployment problem is primarily in the National Guard and to some extent in the Reserve instead of those transitioning off active duty, their response to the high unemployment rate among younger veterans is to provide a training program for active duty young veterans who are transitioning off to prepare for civilian life, sort of a “reverse boot camp”.

As mentioned earlier, if the military was an untrained work force, their overall unemployment rate as reported by BLS would not be lower than the national unemployment rate. The real story is that most veterans transitioning off active duty ARE finding work.

Just getting more money out of Congress to fund yet another bureaucratic training program at DOL or DOD will NOT reduce the high unemployment rate in the National Guard.

Unintended Secondary Effects

There are now secondary effects of the call up policy affecting the National Guard.

Suicide Rate

The suicide rate in the National Guard more than doubled from 50 in 2009 to 112 in 2010. Of the 112 National Guard suicides, financial distress was one of the leading factors. An NGB investigation found that 43% of Army National Guard suicides reported insufficient income, civilian job dissatisfaction or unemployment issues. 62% were between the ages of 17 to 26 years of age.

Impact on Families

Another secondary effect aspect to this issue is the impact on families. Among the leading reasons why people leave the military are operation tempo and the effect on families. Over the last ten years the stress on National Guard families has been significant. I hear regularly from people who are leaving the National Guard are doing so because they do not want to get a divorce. Their spouses are not tolerating the call ups as if they were still active duty military. Particularly since the National Guard do not get the same benefits as an active duty person or access to their retirement upon retiring like an active duty military person, but they are being used as if they were part and parcel an active duty force.

The National Guard and Reserve were created to be strategic reserves. But in today’s world they are being used as an extension of the active duty forces. Some call it a back door draft.  If the members and their families wanted to stay in the active forces, they would not have resigned and joined the National Guard. While a National Guard participant may be very patriotic and support the policies of the Pentagon, they also have responsibilities to their families.

Spouses carry considerably more sway than commanding officers. And if the constant extended and repeated deployments are fought by the spouses and parents, the members will not stay active in the National Guard.

Recruiting

Importantly, if an employee is looking at a promotion in a company and senses that their participation in the National Guard will work against them, they will quit participating.

If a potential National Guard candidate in the civilian labor force senses that employers will not support participation in the National Guard, they will not join.

It should be noted that most of the participants in the National Guard are natural leaders in their community and have the very skills needed for the high tech military of today’s operational National Guard. The current call up policy will not encourage the very people we need in the National Guard to participate or remain in uniform.

The country cannot continue to call members of the National Guard up to fight wars and then make it difficult for those members to obtain employment in the civilian sector.

DOD is making many of our National Guard component personnel third class citizens that are trapped due to the recession. That is not the right thing to do to our members of the National Guard!

And perhaps most disturbing, as this trend continues to grow, returning National Guard personnel – the very people who have been fighting to keep the United States free – will find it harder to obtain meaningful employment equal to their education and experience.

National Guard Unemployment Will Rise in 2012

As DOD downsizes the active duty forces the members of the National Guard will be facing another problem: competing with the downsized military personnel for civilian jobs.

Put yourself in the position of an employer. A transitioning veteran applies to your company and they have all the skill sets you are seeking. The transitioning veteran has no further obligation to the military. You have a great candidate who will work for the company full time.

You also have a candidate from the National Guard who has the same skill sets, but you have been reading in the press that the National Guard candidate may get called up for six months to a year. The National Guard candidate will also want time off so they can attend military schools which are a part of their continuum of military service. And the National Guard candidate may be subject to short call ups by the state governor to handle state emergencies, such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, visiting foreign dignitaries, etc.

As a civilian employer, who are you going to hire? The candidate that has no further military obligations!

Thus, as we move into 2012 with the active force downsizing, the National Guard will have another issue hindering their ability to find jobs – competing with downsized veterans.

For the military drawdown DOD will be separating about 140,000 people in the next 12 months. There will also be the normal group of about 190,000 who leave the service each year. All these new veterans will be competing with component National Guard members for the same jobs.

I predict that the bottom line for the young veteran unemployment which has been hovering in the low to mid 30% range throughout the latter half of 2011 may go as high as 50% if nothing is done to alleviate the situation.

Veteran Employment Outlook

The overall outlook for veteran employment is positive. 81% of military occupations have a direct or very close civilian equivalent. Any person who has spent a year or more on active duty has marketable skills wanted by civilian employers. The military has engineers, nurses, lawyers, accountants, store managers, telecommunications technicians, truck drivers, food service managers and more. And all military members possess, to some degree, intangible skills such as leadership, process improvement, problem identification, trouble shooting, managerial/supervisory administration, and project management.

It is very encouraging to see how companies are employing wounded warriors. Companies like Walmart, Home Depot, BNSF Railway, American Airlines and many others are making special accommodations to hire our wounded warriors. It is a positive change from the 1970s when veterans would apply to a job and not mention having served in Vietnam as their Vietnam service frequently would work against them. The Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion have been leaders in changing the attitude of employers in this regard.

Chart #4 looks at the veteran unemployment rate for 2006 through 2010. The numbers demonstrate that veterans have done quite well when compared to nonveterans, the exception of course being the young 20 to 24 year old veterans in the National Guard and Reserve. Once past the 20 to 24 year old demographic, the unemployment rates are not statistically different between the two populations.

 

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

 

2006

2006

2007

2007

2008

2008

2009

2009

2010

2010

20 to 24

10.40%

8.10%

11.30%

8.10%

13.50%

10.10%

14.70%

14.60%

20.60%

14.40%

25 to 29

6.50%

5.10%

6.40%

5.10%

6.80%

6.50%

10.60%

10.60%

14.90%

10.70%

30 to 34

5.40%

4.10%

4.40%

4.10%

5.50%

5.10%

9.00%

9.00%

10.50%

9.10%

35 to 39

3.80%

3.60%

3.50%

3.60%

4.30%

4.70%

8.20%

8.30%

8.00%

8.10%

40 to 44

3.40%

3.50%

3.20%

3.40%

4.20%

4.50%

7.70%

7.70%

6.70%

8.20%

45 to 49

4.10%

3.20%

3.40%

3.30%

4.70%

4.00%

7.20%

7.10%

8.30%

7.80%

50 to 54

3.10%

2.90%

3.10%

3.10%

4.40%

4.10%

7.20%

7.00%

8.40%

7.50%

55 to 59

3.50%

2.90%

3.80%

3.00%

3.90%

3.80%

6.60%

6.40%

8.50%

6.90%

60 to 64

2.40%

3.00%

3.10%

3.00%

4.00%

3.50%

6.60%

6.70%

8.00%

7.10%

65 plus

3.10%

2.80%

3.50%

3.20%

4.10%

4.20%

6.40%

6.30%

7.20%

6.50%

 

Chart #4: Five year veteran versus nonveteran unemployment rates

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Chart #5 demonstrates the overall veteran unemployment trend relative to nonveterans for 2011 follows the trend of past years.

 

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

Vet

NV

 

18-24

18-24

25-34

25-34

35-44

35-44

45-54

45-54

55-64

55-64

Jan

31.90%

18.10%

15.60%

9.90%

7.50%

8.20%

8.90%

7.80%

9.50%

7.10%

Feb

28.60%

17.20%

14.40%

9.90%

6.30%

8.10%

9.50%

7.60%

8.70%

6.80%

Mar

28.80%

16.10%

12.80%

9.60%

7.40%

7.70%

9.10%

7.50%

7.50%

6.70%

Apr

26.80%

15.30%

11.10%

9.40%

7.50%

7.10%

7.80%

6.90%

6.40%

6.20%

May

31.90%

16.30%

11.90%

9.10%

8.20%

7.00%

7.20%

6.70%

7.00%

6.20%

Jun

26.20%

17.10%

14.80%

9.30%

9.40%

7.20%

6.40%

7.10%

8.00%

6.70%

July

19.80%

16.50%

14.30%

9.50%

8.10%

7.00%

6.70%

7.30%

9.00%

7.20%

Aug

30.40%

16.30%

8.70%

9.20%

7.40%

7.00%

6.30%

7.10%

7.60%

6.70%

Sep

35.60%

16.30%

10.00%

9.30%

7.00%

7.30%

8.00%

6.80%

6.60%

6.30%

Oct

30.40%

15.40%

11.70%

9.30%

5.50%

6.80%

6.70%

6.50%

7.90%

6.60%

Nov

37.90%

15.30%

7.40%

8.70%

5.40%

6.70%

7.40%

6.40%

6.90%

6.00%

Dec

31.00%

14.60%

10.40%

9.20%

6.30%

6.90%

7.70%

6.60%

6.90%

5.90%

 

 

Chart #5:  Veteran versus nonveteran unemployment rates monthly for 2011

Source: BLS CPS veteran report

Note again that the high veteran unemployment rate relative to their civilian nonveteran counterparts is in the 18 to 24 year old veterans and to a lesser degree, in the 25 to 34 year old veterans. All other age groups do not have a statistically significant variation.

In terms of where veterans do best in finding employment, major categories include:

information technology, project management, consulting, sales, linguists, logistics, transportation, human resources, education,  construction, manufacturing, engineering, finance, banking, healthcare, retail, senior executives and expatriates.

Pushback to Veteran Employment Programs

With so much attention being given to help veterans find employment, there is starting to be a subtle but noticeable pushback by elements in the population who feel veterans are getting too much help.

On July 14, 2011, I was interviewed by the PBS Radio program: The Sound of Ideas. The program can be heard at http://www.ideastream.org/soi/entry/41346. During the interview, the host Mike McIntyre asked “With the veteran unemployment rate below the national unemployment rate, why give veterans extra help and funding when other groups with a much higher unemployment rate need help?” This was not the first time I had encountered this sentiment when being interviewed.

In another radio interview that took phone calls, a caller asked why he could not get a “Gold Pass” from the Department of Labor like the veterans. He had been unemployed for 14 months and felt the veterans were getting better treatment even though the overall veteran unemployment rate was lower than the civilian unemployment rate.

I suspect this sentiment will continue to grow as the economy continues in its stagnation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Having studied this issue for nearly a decade, I have found there is no silver bullet that will solve the National Guard unemployment problem. The problem is too large both in the number of people affected and in terms of the geographic dispersal of participants in the National Guard. The National Guard unemployment issue is both a local and a national problem. Various levels of response will be required to help solve this problem.

While there is no silver bullet, a combination of policy changes and utilizing existing public sector resources will go a long way towards assisting those members of the National Guard who need employment assistance.

Any potential solutions must somehow gain the support of the employers while at the same time provide a continuum of military service for the component National Guard participant as well as providing the component member a continuum of service in their civilian career.

I recognize that some of solutions are not politically possible or financially feasible given the current political and economic climate, but all possible solutions need to be considered.

Three obvious solutions, 1) bringing back a draft, 2) expanding the active duty forces by 500,000 and 3) reducing the use of the National Guard are not considered in my recommendations as politically they would be non-starters. I will leave the discussion of these three ideas for a future date.

The below recommendations need further study and documentation. My purpose here is to raise awareness of what could help alleviate the unemployment of members of the National Guard. I give a brief discussion of each item followed by the recommendation. While no one recommendation will solve the overall National Guard unemployment problem, a combination of these items will go a long way to finding a workable solution.

Working on a solution to the National Guard unemployment problem is important. For too long people have been trying to pretend the issue does not exist and have been kicking the can down the road for someone else to deal with in the future. That might be good for a bureaucrat’s career, but the young members of the National Guard who have families to support should be given better treatment than being kicked down the road.

When looking at solutions, private sector solutions would be preferable to public sector solutions. The private sector is always more efficient and it helps if the people assisting military veterans find work have worked in the private sector themselves vice just having worked in a government bureaucracy.

To this end, what follows are suggestions with brief discussions submitted for the Committee’s consideration.

1. Franchises

DISCUSSION:  Many studies reveal that veterans make good entrepreneurs due to their innate ability to assess risk and provide leadership. If veterans had access to capital to buy a franchise they could start a business that would provide income and no loss of benefits for their families when called to active duty. There would be the additional benefit of no USERRA complaints as a veteran cannot file against themselves. Another benefit is they would have a tendency to hire other veterans. Family members could get assistance from the SBA and SCORE in running the franchise while the component member is deployed. Many franchise screening organizations like FranChoice and VetFran can assist National Guard candidates in identifying the right type of franchise for them to purchase. I suspect this would only work for about 12% to 15% of the National Guard force.

RECOMMENDATION:  Recommend that an annual $500,000,000 or greater fund be established wherein members of the National Guard who can qualify from a management and entrepreneurial position can draw no- or low-interest loans to purchase a franchise.

2. Certifications and Licenses

DISCUSSION:  Soldiers who serve in the military are trained in over 200 occupations that provide skills wanted by civilian employers. Many of the skills learned by people serving in the military have civilian application but to obtain a civilian job the candidate needs civilian certification or a license. If DOD education and training commands were to add civilian certification to their training programs, it would be easier for a transitioning veteran to find civilian employment. This assumes that the unions will no longer fight the awarding of civilian certifications to military personnel and assumes active duty commanders will understand that providing such certifications will not be a retention problem. In fact, it could help retention.

RECOMMENDATION:  Recommend that military education commands and institutions provide training that meets civilian certification and licensing requirements.

3. Employer Compensation

DISCUSSION: In discussions with employers they state they do not want traditional tax breaks to hire members of the National Guard because they cannot spend a tax break. Private employers cannot finance the National Guard activities and deployments on their company’s books. Companies have to provide family health coverage and other benefits while the component member is deployed. The companies are not reimbursed their expenses in supporting an active member of the National Guard.

RECOMMENDATION:  DOD should compensate employers for medical benefits and provide a direct cash stipend wherein the employer can hire a contract employee to fill the vacancy created by the deployed member of the National Guard.

4. Employ National Guard in Federal Agencies

DISCUSSION: In April 2009 the administration stated it was going to have the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency to hire members of the Army Reserve. This proposal was unfortunately just a political statement as the action never took place. The Congress could mandate that a certain percentage of federal jobs in agencies like Border Patrol, TSA, Federal Prisons, Agriculture, Forestry and National Parks be set aside to be filled by members of the National Guard. These same agencies could provide more paid internships.

RECOMMENDATION:  Provide jobs for members of the National Guard in select federal agencies based on an enforced set-aside of a percentage of jobs in various federal agencies.

5. Mentoring

DISCUSSION:  Mentoring is the act of one knowledgeable person providing guidance to one who needs assistance. Mentoring programs have proven to be effective in assisting people in a job search. There are many excellent mentoring resources in the private sector that could serve as a role model. Such programs include the Mentor Program at the Goizueta School of Business, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (www.goizueta.emory.edu/alumni/mentor.html); CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project, Augusta, GA (www.csrawwcp.org); American Corporate Partners, New York, NY (www.acp-usa.org); and The Mission Continues, St. Louis, MO (www.missioncontinues.org). These programs have proven very beneficial to military seeking employment. The programs are all run on a local level which is part of their strength. Mentor programs work best when the mentors have current and validated information needed by the mentoree, which is a problem for mentor programs run by government bureaucracies. Effective mentor programs are not cost free.

RECOMMENDATION: Make use of private sector mentoring resources and provide funding as necessary.

6. Encourage State Level Programs

DISCUSSION:  The best hiring programs are local programs run by people who understand their local market. Encouragement by state governors, county commissioners, mayors, etc. to enact legislation or programs to encourage the hiring of members of the National Guard will help to give awareness of the issue to private and public sector employers. A good example would be Governor Rick Scott of Florida who last week launched a Hire Florida’s Heroes Campaign. Another example is the CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project, Augusta, GA (www.csrawwcp.org).

RECOMMENDATION:  Encourage local and state programs.

7. Local Career Fairs

DISCUSSION:  Surveys indicate that only about 3% of all jobs are filled through career fairs. While actual hire rates are low, career fairs are popular with employers as they help employers to establish an employment brand. There are numerous private sector companies that run military related career fairs – for a listing, visit the Upcoming Career Fairs on VetJobs at www.vetjobs.com/media/upcoming-military-related-career-fairs/. A very successful career fair program is run by LCOL Kevin Schmiegel, USMC (Retired) at the US Chamber of Commerce called Hiring our Heroes: Business Steps Up. This is a nation-wide initiative to help wounded, ill, and injured veterans find meaningful employment by establishing strategic partnerships with organizations in both the public and private sectors. A big part of the US Chamber’s success is that each hiring event is a locally run event involving local sponsors. The US Chamber sponsors about 100 events a year.

RECOMMENDATION:  Encourage participation in Hiring our Heroes.

8. Educational Initiatives

DISCUSSION: Returning Guard and Reserve troops can aggregate Title 10 call-up time towards earning the Post-9/11 GI Bill. 40% of the benefit is earned for a cumulative one-year call-up alone. Many members of the National Guard have multiple deployments and may wind up gaining the full 100% benefit, which triggers the housing allowance. Members of the National Guard should be encouraged to take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to gain the job skills and certifications or academic training toward a degree. Using the GI Bill will make the veteran more competitive in a tough labor market. 

RECOMMENDATION:  Ensure all National Guard participants are aware of the educational opportunities for which they may qualify. Consider adding new programs to assist members of the National Guard to go to college or obtain certifications from legitimately accredited institutions.

9. Tax Breaks

DISCUSSION:  While opportunity tax credits (OTC) help a few to find work, OTCs are generally used for low income jobs which are not the type of jobs sought by most veterans. Designing OTCs that would work for jobs that pay over $40,000 a year would incent more employers to hire members of the National Guard.

RECOMMENDATION: Give employers significant tax incentives to hire members of the National Guard.

10. Transition Assistance Programs

DISCUSSION: On more than one occasion I have heard from Adjutant Generals that when their National Guard component members return from deployment and go to an Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) office, the National Guard members are told that ACAP does not work with members of the National Guard, only transitioning active duty. While the DOD Transition Assistance Program needs significant improvement, they should not be turning away members of the National Guard.

RECOMMENDATION: Make mandatory that all DOD transition services are available to members of the National Guard.

11. Reporting of National Guard Hiring by Companies

DISCUSSION:  One way to make an employer more aware of an issue is to require the -employer to report on their activity. Any company that does business with the United States government should not only report on how many veterans they have hired, but also how many members of the National Guard they have hired. This could be done using the existing VETS-100 report or as a question during an OFCCP or VEVRAA/JVA audit. If companies are made aware that hiring members of the National Guard may be necessary to win a federal contract, the employer will have a financial incentive to hire members of the National Guard. This is a 'free market solution' rather than more government bureaucracy.

RECOMMENDATION:  Make reporting of the number of National Guard hired by a company a mandatory report for any company over 100 employees.

CONCLUSION

The bottom line to be derived from the above information and data presented on National Guard unemployment is overall employers want to hire veterans. In my 13 years of working with employers wanting to hire veterans I have found the American business community to be extremely pro-military.

Business people understand that without a strong military, their businesses could not exist as a foreign power would want to take the business and the assets. The United States had to learn this the hard way in the 1930’s when we disarmed post World War I. This has been the record of humans since the dawn of time. Those who will not protect what they have are subject to losing what they have. As the Latin phrase “si vis pacum, parabellum” so aptly put it: “To have peace, prepare for war!”

I for one am in favor of an operational National Guard. Having our National Guard forces be operational versus strategic strengthens the United States on the national stage. But in order to keep the system effective and operational, employer support is necessary and that is currently missing for the National Guard.

A more balanced way to utilize the National Guard needs to be found.

Overall, the real story is that most veterans ARE finding employment!

This concludes my presentation. Thank you for your time.

Theodore (Ted) L. Daywalt

CEO and President

VetJobs.com, Inc.

P. O. Box 71445

Marietta, GA  30007-1445

770-993-5117 (o)

877-838-5627 (877-Vet-Jobs)

tdaywalt@vetjobs.com

Appendix 1 - Major National Guard Call ups

www.ngaus.org/

1916 - Mexican Border - In May, President Wilson requested Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to send troops to protect the border. These states sent 5,260 Guardsmen. On June 18, as the crisis grew with Mexico, a partial call up of 158,664 is made, including New York's 1st Aero Company, the first Guard flying unit (and the first ever called to active duty). Within six weeks, 112,000 Guardsmen were patrolling the border. The call up totaled about 170,000 men.

1917 to 1918 - World War I - In some ways, this was the war upon which the Guard had the biggest impact. When war was declared in April, 66,594 Guardsmen were still serving on the Mexican border. By Aug. 5, all 379,071 members in 16 Divisions were mobilized. Later, two additional divisions of Guardsmen - the 42nd and the 93rd - were created. The 93rd was a special case; it consisted of three regiments of black guardsmen but none of the other supporting units which make up a division, and fought the war under French direction. All remaining empty slots within Guard units were filled up with draftees prior to going "Over There" totaling more than 433,000 men serving in Guard units during the war.

The Statistical Branch of the War Department released some relevant figures after the war by which we can judge Guard performance. 30 American divisions saw combat. Of those to see combat, 12 were Guard. Of the 50,280 Americans killed and 205,690 wounded, 18,827 and 84,500 respectively were National Guard. The German general staff during the war rated the best American divisions they faced - of the eight mentioned, two were Regular Army and six were Guard. The 30th Division received more Medals of Honor - 12 total - than any other Division.

1940 to 1945 - World War II - People tend to forget that by the time war was declared in late 1941, many Guardsmen had been on active duty for more than a year. In September 1940, the first of 300,034 Guardsmen reported for active duty. When the war started, there were 18 Guard divisions, and 16 in the Regular Army. A 17th Guard division, the Americal, was formed in the Pacific, and two National Guard Regiments were used to "Round Out" (a later term) two Regular divisions (the 7th Infantry Division and 8th Infantry Division) that consisted of two regiments.

In 1947, with the creation of a separate Air Force, the National Guard split into Army and Air components.

1950 to 1953 - Korea - One-third of the Army National Guard, or 138,600 Guardsmen were federalized including eight infantry divisions, three regimental combat teams, and 714 company-sized units. Many additional guardsmen were deployed to Korea as individual replacements. Two divisions went to Korea, the 40th Infantry and 45th Infantry along with 40 other combat and combat support units. Even more Guardsmen deployed to strengthen NATO forces in Europe, including two divisions the 28th and 43rd Infantry.

At this time, 45,594 Air Guardsmen entered federal service - two tactical fighter wings deployed to Korea, the 136th and 116th Fighter-Bomber Wings. Three more deployed to Europe. Most Air Guardsmen in Korea were mobilized as individual replacement pilots or mechanics in active units. Of those 101 were killed in action. Of the nearly 6 million Americans in uniform during the war more than 900,000 were Guardsmen and Reservists.

1961 to 1962 - Berlin Crisis - During the Berlin Crisis, 447 Army National Guard units, consisting of 22,371 personnel mobilized. The Air National Guard mobilized 163 units consisting of 21,067 personnel.

1968 to 1969 - USS Pueblo/ Vietnam - During the Vietnam war, 102 Air National Guard units, consisting of 10,511 personnel mobilized. This included four tactical fighter squadrons. The Largest Army units to mobilize were the 29th Infantry Brigade and the 69th Infantry Brigade. Thirty-four Army Guard units consisting of 12,234 personnel mobilized. Of the 12,234, 2,729 went to Vietnam with their units, while 4,311 were later sent to Vietnam as fillers.

1980 - Cuban Refugee Crisis - The Army National Guard mobilized 4,481 Guardsmen.

1983 - Grenada - During the Grenada Crisis, one Army Guardsman and 250 Air Guardsmen mobilized.

1989 to 1990 - Panama (Just Cause) - Eighty-four Army Guardsmen and about 950 Air Guardsmen mobilized

1990 to 1991 - Gulf War (Desert Shield/ Desert Storm) - President George Bush mobilized the National Guard by Presidential Select Reserve Call up, or PSRC, by Executive Order 12727 on Aug. 22, 1990. This was superseded by a partial mobilization on Jan. 17, 1991. Of the 265,322 reservists mobilized, 63,050 were Army Guardsmen and 12,428 were Air Guardsmen. The total reserve involuntary call up was 239, 187 plus 26, 135 volunteers.

1992 - Los Angeles Riots - A total of 11,398 California Guardsmen were mobilized.

1993 - Somalia (Restore Hope) - Of the 343 voluntary Reservists deployed, 65 were Army National Guardsmen.

1994 to 1996 - Haiti (Uphold Democracy) - President Bill Clinton activated 845 Army National Guardsmen by PSRC: Executive Order 2927 on Sept. 15, 1994. Mostly special forces and military police units were deployed.

1995 to 1999 - Bosnia (Joint Guard/Joint Forge/ Joint Endeavor) - President Clinton deployed the National Guard again on Dec. 8, 1995 through PSRC Executive Order 12982. Although this is an on-going mission, as of Nov. 22, 1999, 19,093 reservists have or are serving in the Bosnia. Of the 19,093, 13,000 deployed voluntarily.

1998 to 1999 - Southwest Asia (Southern Watch) - On Feb. 24, 1998 President Clinton mobilized the National Guard for Operation Southern Watch. Although this is an on-going mission, as of Nov. 22, 1999, 1,756 reservists were called involuntarily, 8,000 have volunteered.

1999 to Present - Kosovo (Allied Force) - On April 27, 1999 through PRC: Executive Order 13120, President Clinton mobilized 4,000 voluntary reservists and 5,628 involuntary reservists. As of Nov. 22, 1999 3,420 Air Guardsmen were called; 2,132 have deployed to Kosovo during the conflict. The first Army Guard unit called for Kosovo was the 852nd Rear Area Operations Center from Arizona with 39 people.

2001 to Present - Homeland Defense/ War on Terrorism (Noble Eagle/ Enduring Freedom) - A total of 9,600 National Guard men and women were already on duty across the country on Friday, Sept. 14, when President George Bush approved an order to call up as many as 50,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve. That number included 5,000 members of the Army National Guard and 4,600 members of the Air National Guard, according to the National Guard Bureau, serving because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.   

As of March 26, 2003, 98,464 Army and Air National Guardsmen were mobilized in support of operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom: 79,985 Army Guard and 18,479 Air Guard.

2003 to Present - Iraq (Iraqi Freedom) - On of March 19, 2003, more than 138,000 Guardsmen had been notified, mobilized and deployed in the buildup for a possible war against Iraq.

By September 2004, nearly 52,000 guardsmen and women were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan - about one-third of the total force.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 225,000 Guardsmen have been mobilized or deployed

2005 – Hurricanes Katrina/Rita/Wilma – Over 50,000 Guardsmen responded from all 50 states after the Aug. 29 arrival of Hurricane Katrina.  In the following weeks, several thousand Guardsmen also provided post-hurricane support for Hurricane Rita and Wilma.

2006 – Present - U.S. - Mexico Border (Operation Jump Start) – Announced by President Bush in May 2006, Operation Jump Start deployed Guardsmen to assist Border Patrol in protecting U.S. – Mexico border. As of April 2007, 6,000 Guardsmen had been deployed.

Appendix 2 – About VetJobs

The mission of VetJobs is to assist veterans, their spouses and dependents find quality jobs with employers worldwide. Since our launch on Veterans Day in 1999, VetJobs has assisted millions of veterans and their family members meet the recruiting needs of thousands of companies. As we speak today, there are over 39,000 real jobs on the VetJobs site from hundreds of patriotic companies who want to hire veterans and their family members. Over 160,000 veterans a month or nearly two million veterans a year visit VetJobs seeking assistance.

VetJobs is exclusively sponsored and partially owned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (www.vfw.org). Additionally, VetJobs is endorsed by the Vietnam Veterans of America (www.vva.org), Association of the US Navy (www.ausn.org), Veterans of Modern Warfare (www.vmwusa.org), Student Veterans of America (www.studentveterans.org), Military Order of the Purple Heart (www.purpleheart.org), Hope4Heroes (www.hope4heroes.org), United States Army Warrant Officers Association (www.usawoa.org) and The Retired Enlisted Association (www.trea.org).  

VetJobs has consistently been recognized as the leading military job board on the internet. Award recognitions include:

-Nine year recipient of WEDDLE's User's Choice Award

-Eight year recipient of AIRS Top Recruiting Site

-Four year recipient of Workforce Management Top 10 Recruiting Sites

-Only military job board selected by Internet Inc, Reader's Digest and BusinessWeek

-2010 AOL Hot Job Site Award

These awards mark VetJobs as one of the top job boards on the Internet out of 200,000 job board sites!

Due to its leadership role in the military niche, VetJobs is regularly quoted in the press, TV and radio, including USA Today, CBS 60 Minutes, Military Times, PBS Frontline, NPR, CNN, FOX Business News and radio shows like Andy Dean, RSS and RT.

Appendix 3 – Biography of Ted Daywalt

Since 1999 Mr. Daywalt has been the president and CEO of VetJobs (www.vetjobs.com), the leading military job board on the Internet, sponsored and partially owned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and recognized as the top military job board by CareerXRoads, WEDDLE’s, Workforce Management Magazine, AIRS and AOL. Mr. Daywalt is regularly cited and interviewed in the press, including USA Today, 60 Minutes, Military Times, PBS Frontline, NPR, CNN and FOX Business News.

Mr. Daywalt served on active duty in the Navy for seven years. He initially served as a Line Officer on a destroyer with cruises to South America, Europe and Russia. He was then assigned to the Commander United States Naval Forces, European headquarters in London, England, as an intelligence watch officer and later as a geopolitical analyst with responsibilities for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. In 1978 he transferred to the Naval Reserve Intelligence Program, from which he retired as a Captain (O-6) with 28 years of service.

Following his active naval service and obtaining an MBA, he entered private industry in 1980 as a plant manager and later as an executive in the steel industry. He has held senior and C level executive positions in the steel, electric utility, importing, chemical, biomedical waste and recruiting industries. Mr. Daywalt has been active in the recruiting and staffing industry since 1994.

Mr. Daywalt is published and is an in demand speaker for various business organizations, government agencies and universities, speaking on recruiting and retention, the Internet, educational and economic trends, military and veterans issues. Mr. Daywalt regularly works with congressional committees on veteran and economic issues and has been appointed to many government agency review committees regarding military/veteran, employment and economic issues.

 

Mr. Daywalt is a noted motivational speaker and is known nationwide as an advocate for veterans. Mr. Daywalt was one of the CEOs invited to the White House Jobs Summit in November 2009 and testified before the President’s Commission on the National Guard and Reserve. Mr. Daywalt is on the United States Chamber’s Small Business Council and the Procurement Council.

 

Mr. Daywalt currently sits on several Boards of Directors; is Chairman of the Atlanta Regional Military Affairs Council (ARMAC); Chairman of Congressman Tom Price’s (GA-R-6) Military Affairs Council; Analyst/Writer, Veterans Workforce Group; Director, College Educators for Veterans’ Higher Education; and is a consultant for The Herman Group. Past board memberships have included the International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS); Board of Alumni for Goizueta Business School, Emory University; Board of Directors of Naval Intelligence Professionals; and Chairman, Employers United for a Stronger America.

Mr. Daywalt is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; American Legion; Disabled American Veterans; Vietnam Veterans of America; AMVETS; Military Officers Association of America; Reserve Officers Association; Military Order of the World Wars; Navy League; Association of the US Navy; Navy Enlisted Reserve Association; Naval Intelligence Professionals; and National Military Intelligence Association.

Mr. Daywalt earned a BS from Florida State University (1971), an MA in International Relations from the University of Southern California (1977) and an MBA from the Goizueta Business School, Emory University (1980).

Mr. Daywalt is married to Belinda Foye Daywalt (Burkhart) and resides in Roswell, GA. They have two children.