The veteran unemployment rate for March 2023 was 2.4%. It was the third time in 13 months for it to reach that mark and almost tied the lowest rate of 2.3% back in April 2019. Once the pandemic hit, the unemployment rate for veterans shot up to 11.7%, but that figure has seen a steady decline over the last three years.
The unemployment rate for non-veterans was 3.5% in March 2023. But even with an unemployment rate lower than non-veterans by over a percentage point, 211,000 veterans are still looking for full-time employment.
So for veterans still looking for work, one thing to consider increasing your chances of getting hired might be to retrain into a new career field. One reason some veterans are not getting hired is their knowledge, skills, and abilities do not match the requirements of the majority of open positions … many of which are in the high-demand technology fields.
One way to retrain in a new career field is the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses or VET TEC. Launched in 2019 as a five-year pilot program, it has been so successful that Congress wants to extend the program. On March 27, Rep. Jaun Ciscomani (R-AZ) introduced a proposal that would extend and expand the program allowing up to 8,000 veterans to enroll annually. The Senate still has to pass a vote on their version of the proposal for it to become law.
And the program’s budget has expanded too. When first started, Congress allotted $15 million to fund the program. But when applications far outpaced available slots (and money available), the budget was increased to $110 million.
As of now, about 12,000 veterans have completed the program with 8,000 finding full-time work in the technology industry. There is an incentive built into the program for schools to assist veterans in finding work. Initially, a school receives half of the tuition when the student enrolls and the other half once the veteran graduates from the program and finds full-time employment.
The program is free for veterans to attend. Once accepted into the program, the VA pays tuition costs, and the student receives a monthly housing allowance while enrolled in the program.
Subjects taught include:
- Computer Software
- Computer programming
- Information science
- Media applications
These are all jobs in high demand fields that not only pay well but are projected to continue to be high for the next 10 years.
Google Certificate Programs
This is another great training opportunity in high-demand technology fields for Veterans. Google has teamed up with the Department of Labor and created certificate programs in five different areas:
- Digital Marketing & E-commerce
- IT Support
- Data Analytics
- Project Management
- UX Design
These self-paced programs are free for veterans to participate in and can be usually completed in three to six months. What is unique about this training program is it is also open to the spouses of veterans too.
If you are a veteran that has been unsuccessful in securing full-time employment, it could be that that your skills are mismatched with what employers are looking for today. But with the VET TEC and Google Certificate programs, it opens up a whole new range of job search opportunities.