By Joe McAtee, National Resource Directory Communications Coordinator and Army Veteran
Since 2008, the National Resource Directory (NRD) has been providing thousands of resources for wounded, ill and injured Service members, veterans, their families and caregivers to support them in rehabilitation and reintegration.
Part of the NRD’s mission is to continually look for new ways to serve our wounded warriors, Service members and veterans. So, in September, when the White House approached the NRD team about hosting a new initiative on the website, which would give transitioning Service members and veterans an innovative job search tool, we willingly signed up for the mission.
A little more than two months later, in conjunction with the President’s announcement of the Veterans Job Bank on November 7, 2011, the NRD is proud to provide access to more than a half million veteran-committed jobs, bolstering its support of America’s military and veteran communities.
How does it work? The Veterans Job Bank translates a veteran’s military occupational code (MOC) into related civilian skill sets and searches for jobs that match those qualifications. If a veteran is re-classed, he or she can add more MOC identifiers to the search criteria and choose which translated skills best represent his or her experiences in the military. In addition, users can refine their search by keyword or location.
While there are hundreds of thousands jobs available through the Veterans Job Bank, those listings identified as veteran-committed openings on LinkedIn, Monster and Craigslist continue to be added every day.
The need to make this resource available to veterans is great. Unemployment among Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) is three percentage points higher than the general population. In some states, the unemployment rate for new veterans is higher than 15 percent. And despite major job boards offering millions of postings, the trends are moving in the opposite direction.
Currently, the Veterans Job Bank is available in a beta version to the public. We want to make the Veterans Job Bank the best possible job search tool to support our veterans, but in order to do that, we need your help. We invite all of you to use the Veterans Job Bank and give us feedback so that any problems can be indentified and fixed. Please send your comments to our webmaster at info@NRD.gov.
So what’s next?
Resume building resources, service record translation, personalization features (such as saved searches) and more have been identified as possible future enhancements to the Veterans Job Bank. Though the underlying issues that drive veteran unemployment won’t go away with the launch of the Veterans Job Bank, they can be mitigated with a sustained focus and consistent improvement to this useful tool.
With 39,000 troops returning from Iraq at the end of the year, the employment challenge is, and will continue to be, enormous. However, with feedback from users and the continued support of our partners in the public and private sectors – the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, the White House, Google, SimplyHired and many more – we are certainly moving in the right direction to support our veterans in their search for meaningful employment.