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Are Employers Reluctant to Hire Veterans?

Despite their skills and can-do attitudes, former military personnel are still a tough sell with employers, some experts say. And the younger vets are, the more likely they are to be unemployed.

The problem is partly public perception of veterans, according to advocacy groups. Increased media attention for veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries has led some employers to think of military candidates as violent or unstable.

In addition, the current generation of employers is the first ever to be composed of people who are unlikely to have served in the military themselves.

Unemployment for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq is 10.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as opposed to 8.2 percent for all U.S. workers. Those numbers get much worse for veterans under the age of 24: their unemployment rate is 29.1 percent.

The advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America conducted a survey among its members, and found that half believed that companies weren't open to the idea of hiring veterans, and a quarter reported trouble finding jobs that fit their skill levels.

Recent programs like Joining Forces, the jobs for veterans initiative organized by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, might help change that. Companies participating in Joining Forces have committed to creating over 100,000 jobs for veterans and their spouses over the next three years.

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(Photo Credit: US Army Africa/Flickr)

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