The city of Syracuse is being reminded that the phrase “support our troops” holds true both on and off the battlefield. Politicians, business owners, and community organizers came together today to discuss veteran unemployment, and the role that the city and local employers can play in solving this problem.
Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki believes that hiring these veterans can help both the business and the nation as a whole.
Our veterans helped to build the middle class in this country in the 20th Century after the Second World War, with the benefits of the original GI Bill. They’ll help to build the middle class in this 21st Century. And so for employers who want to have their businesses grow and succeed, hire a veteran…especially the youngest veterans, many of whom are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with incredible skills.
While classes are being offered at Syracuse University and O.C.C. to support veterans, the skills learned in the military often transfer over to the workplace. Tony Baird has hired veterans at his electronics business and finds that the best soldiers are often the best employees.
Being a veteran I know one thing, you’re on time and if you’re not on time you’re going to be in trouble. You also have a mission, there’s something you need to accomplish. If they’re doing that in the field if you will, in the theater, then they’re going to be able to bring that. It’s sort of like habit, I would say. It’s something you get ingrained inside of yourself.
Nationally, veteran unemployment is at a similar rate to general unemployment. However, it is much higher among younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Secretary Shinseki and Mayor Stephanie Minor were unable to comment about the number of unemployed veterans in Syracuse.