Employment Improving For Veterans But Still Work To Be Done

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(Memphis) The labor department is releasing some new numbers that are great news for some veterans.

The unemployment rate for veterans as a whole is down 1.3% to 7%.

The unemployment for veterans serving since 2001 is still above the national average at 9.9%.

For veterans like Michael Borders having a job can mean having a purpose, “For veterans to work gives them the social capabilities of being able to give back."

Borders did two tours in Iraq during Desert Storm, now he’s the resident manager at Alpha Omega Veteran Services.

This means he collects rent and runs the kitchen, and he doesn’t know what he would do without the job, “I suffer from PTSD so I think I probably would be someone where really stuck in a deep depression without my social skills and being able to get out and interact with people."

Whitney Bray is the program manager at Alpha Omega and says Borders isn’t alone.

Many veterans need jobs to fill a void, but can’t find them for a variety of reasons.

“They should pay more attention to the dedication to this country.  A lot of the people were infantry, the majority.  And that doesn’t send them out with skills making them able to be employable,” said Bray.

Some companies like Walmart are stepping up to the plate.

Wal-Mart is offering any veteran who was honorably discharged who comes in to apply.

Wal-Mart has a goal of hiring over 100,000 veterans over the next five years.

Bray says a chance like this could give a vet a reason to live, “It gives them a purpose and a drive to feel like they are important and needed."

Alpha Omega directors say the real change in veteran employment must take place at the federal level.

They say veterans are afraid of applying for any job because if they get that job they will have a reduction in their benefits from the Veterans administration.

“I think that they should be allowed to work a certain amount of hours without losing any benefits,” said Bray.