Finding a job is difficult enough in this tough economic climate without the added stresses of having just returned from tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. For vets returning to the US, green jobs may be the best solution to finding employment as well as applying technical skills acquired while they served.
While the overall unemployment rate in October hovered around 9%, the unemployment rate for vets was 12.1%, with veterans age 18-24 with a 30.4% unemployment rate, and the White House estimates an additions 1 million service members to return to civilian life by 2016–according to an article posted in the Associated Press.
It is challenging for service members to find employment after returning to civilian life becuase there is a lack of understanding between veterans and potential employers, says Lt. Guy Zierk in the AP article. Employers may not grasp that a task in the military, for instance a squad leader, can translate into an actual job position–entry-level management. It’s equally difficult for veterans to translate their skills into the civilian workforce and convey to an employer they possess the skills for the job.
Thankfully, the renewable energy sector is growing fast. The manufacturing and maintenance of wind turbines or solar arrays require similar skills that service members learn in the military, making green jobs a potentially good fit for a lot of returning vets. There is a pilot program, Troops to Energy Jobs, which provides training and credentials to returning veterans, as well as college credits for their military training. Knowles Solar is also proud to say our panel manufacturer, SolarWorld, was one of the 70 employers at the Hiring Our Heroes job fair to support meaningful jobs for returning vets.
The solar and wind industry could be a great outlet for returning veterans struggling to find employment and help aid their transition into–not only the civilian workforce–but civilian life as a whole.
Photo Credit: Knowles Solar Employee, and The Associated Press