In 2007 our troops, also known as-as Gulf War-era II veterans, started to return home from the Iraq and Afghan wars, and by 2010 their unemployment rate was 11.5%, two percentage points higher than the national average. WOS felt this was an unacceptable welcome home for those who risk their lives to protect our freedoms.
Making the transition from military to civilian life comes with a lot of challenges: From figuring out how to position their experience for civilian job opportunities to settling into life in an office environment. And even more so when you consider these statistics:
- 38% of veterans reported a 4+ month wait for their first job1
- 44% of veterans left their post-military job within a year 2
It's important to recognize that veterans bring a unique set of skill sets that stem from serving in strenuous and unforgiving environments. They are strong leaders and team players who have a proven ability to work under pressure, effectively and efficiently. They also value hard work and are eager to learn how to be impactful employees, they just lack the know-how in a less rigid and more uncertain corporate environment.
Since 2010 when we began serving veterans, the national unemployment rate has been steadily declining year over year, which also includes the veteran population. However, our work with this population is not done, especially as we noticed their spouses’ unemployment still hovered at 16% in 2017 compared to the average of 4.4% for all citizens. This means those who support our troops day-to-day, often acting as a single-parent when their spouses are deployed were facing monumental obstacles when it comes to securing long-term, meaningful employment, which affects their ability to provide for themselves and their families.
Download our brief to learn more.
1 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
2 2017 Blue Star Families Survey
Young adults from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities
The opportunity gap in the U.S.—the disparity in access to quality schools and the resources needed for all children to be academically successful—highlights our need to cultivate and source talent for our workforce. Young adults who face socioeconomic disadvantages are disproportionately excluded in the hiring process as a result of both conscious and unconscious bias, often due to their lack of access to educational and mentoring opportunities.
These young adults, also known as “opportunity youth”—which is defined as people ages 16 to 24 who are neither students nor employees, and are disproportionately racial and ethnic minorities and account for 12.3% of young adults in the U.S.—have the intelligence, drive, and desire to succeed in the workplace. But what they lack access to opportunities and support, as showcased by the following troubling statistic: from age 18 to 20, 24% of opportunity youth have no income, and they remain below the poverty threshold well into their twenties.
Additionally, the U.S. is experiencing a skilled labor shortage, that is projected to only increase year-over-year, especially if current job growth is sustained. There is plenty of untapped talent eager to start their careers and provide value, but companies just need to know where to look for them and, more importantly, how to develop their skills.
WOS is working hard to bridge this gap by recruiting, training and placing these underserved job seekers at our partner organizations. Learn more about our veterans, military spouses and underserved talent here:
Our Success with Corporations
Learn how we’ve helped Fortune 500 companies transform their talent pools, here.