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Veterans Face Jobless Challenge

Congress debates how to combat high unemployment. Obama launches job bank

Military skills can be a plus

Job search site CareerBuilder.com found in a recent survey that 20 percent of employers report they're actively recruiting veterans for work over the next 12 months. Major areas of hiring are information technology, customer service, engineering and sales.

Patriotism can be a noble reason for hiring a vet, but there are many military skills that transfer, Godhwani said. They include not only specialized technical training but a strong work ethic, being on time and task-oriented, and leadership.

The security clearances that military members have gone through can be a plus for some companies as well.

But many veterans — and employers — have trouble figuring out how to transfer skills, Godhwani said. "It's almost as if you're speaking two different languages," he said. So it's important for a veteran who's applying for a job to make the case — for instance, to point out how serving in the infantry can build skills for a civilian security job.

Search filters that SimplyHired has created help job seekers find vet-friendly employers — for instance, companies that hold jobs for employees who are called up for active duty in the National Guard or Army Reserves.

Job bank and tax credits

This week, Obama used executive authority to create the new online jobs bank, which the White House depicts as just a start to help veterans.

It wants Congress to approve giving firms tax credits of up to $5,600 for each unemployed veteran they hire, and $9,600 for each veteran with a disability suffered as a result of military service.

These measures are part of a $447 billion jobs bill that Republicans have generally opposed, but many in that party have expressed support for the measures aimed at veterans.

In the meantime, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking into job discrimination against veterans with disabilities. Next week it will hear testimony from nine experts to help formulate ways to stamp it out.

Also of interest: 6 tips to job hunting online. >>

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist who specializes in personal finance.

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