The veteran hiring crisis

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Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 5:57 pm | Updated: 10:46 am, Tue Nov 12, 2013.

SARASOTA FL-- As we honor the men and woman who answered the call to serve our country, a major dilemma many of them face looms in the background.  It's the alarming number of veterans unemployed.

 "It's really hard when our veterans come back from war just to reconnect with the community and also with the family unit, one being jobs," said Kathleen Gagg.  

Gagg is with the non profit Camp Better America.  They try to help veterans re-assimilate into civilian life after being deployed. Gagg says far too often veterans are left to fight off the stigma that they are unemployable because of fears they may suffer from post traumatic stress or have little experience.

"Sometimes corporations find it a little difficult to find their skill set and how it translate back into the work force," said Gagg.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate for vets who served post 9/11 is 10%.  That rate peaked at 13.1% back in December of 2011. That has prompted many campaigns to hire veterans.  But Suncoast business owner Col. John W. Saputo says he doesn't need to be convinced to hire vets because he already knows the benefit.

"Those guys are the cream of the crop for the millennium generation and this is what you need in you company to make your company successful," said Saputo.  He owns Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, and he says 38% of his workforce is currently made up of veterans. And, because he's also a vet, he says he knows the work ethic that comes with employing those who served and how it will benefit his or any company. 

"They understand getting the mission done, they understand working with people as a team, and that's what most companies and corporations need when it comes to darn good employees," added Saputa.

But many of those qualities have been masked by stereotypes, which Saputo says is important to dispel.  "I don't think anyone should be afraid to hire these vets because these guys have been through the mill so to speak.  They have been to hell and back and they are going to come across for you in the pinch when your company needs them the most.  They are going to be there delivering that 100 to 120%."

The U.S. government has launched several campaigns to encouraging hiring veterans.  And those efforts seem to be working. October, unemployment rates fell to 6.9%.  Below the national unemployment rate of 7.3%.

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