VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, PRO/Editor
Ten years ago, National Geographic News reported a disappointing study about young American adults and geography. In spite of near constant news coverage about the war in Iraq, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East. Seventy percent could not find Iran or Israel. Nine in ten couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map of Asia.
You certainly won’t find that kind of illiteracy among our Veterans. Deployed around the world, we naturally develop a global awareness. And that fortunately can translate into jobs for which we’re especially suited.
In February of this year, Secretary of State John Kerry, himself a Veteran, welcomed the first Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP) fellows to his department. Kerry said the fellows will bring a unique way of looking at America’s foreign policy
The VIP is a unique public-private partnership that will take advantage of the expertise Veterans can bring to international relations. Those chosen for the program have experience deployed in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. They all hold master’s degrees as well as a security clearance, and all want to continue their public service. When the fellowship is finished, the participants may be offered positions within the department. VIP represents one of many innovative educational and employment programs that arise not only because of need, but also because we Veterans bring a lot to the table…including our knowledge of the world.
For the job seekers out there, here is something from VetsJobs, the VFW Job Board on the internet employment issues as reported by Ted Daywalt, President, VetJobs:
Success in your life and career and if looking, in your job search, depends on how well you spend those 366 days and the attitude you take when facing problems.
A positive mental outlook trumps a negative mental outlook every time. Even when times are tough, keeping a positive attitude can mean a lot in terms of your success because your future is NOT determined by what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you.
The importance of one’s attitude cannot be stressed enough. Keep in mind that when a company hires, they hire on the basis of skillsets, experience, education, trainability, certifications, cultural fit, location and attitude. The two most important of these characteristics are cultural fit and attitude.
Frequently when working with a candidate having a problem with interviewing or obtaining a job I find that it is not their skills or experience that is holding them back. Rather, it is their attitude. And a bad attitude would make them a bad cultural fit. It is hard to get this concept of attitude across to people who have an attitude problem because they are generally in denial about their attitude. But it is one of the major reasons I see in people who are failing to get a job. So if you are in the job market, think long and hard about the eight characteristics and make any necessary adjustments.
The bottom line here is there is a lot of slack in the economy when it comes to labor and the availability of qualified candidates.
Complicating the labor issue is the over-supply of people with little or no qualifications relative to the demands of current jobs. There is a huge shortage of trades craft labor and candidates with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. Turns out that not everyone should be going to college. And many who go to college opt for soft degrees rather than STEM and business studies. There just is not a big job demand for degrees in history, women’s studies, and other soft degree disciplines. Business and industry need candidates with STEM and business backgrounds. That is why you are reading in the news about huge shortages of engineers, welders, machinists, CNC operators, software developers, accountants, maintenance, operations and manufacturing.
Much of the labor problem is also rooted in the federal government’s policy of No Child Left Behind. Due to No Child Left Behind, USA Today reported that only 2.0% of high schools now teach shop classes (welding, automotive, carpentry, electricity, plumbing, etc.) which used to prepare high school graduates to take a job. Now they are graduating high school with no applicable skills. They are unprepared for work. The result is American businesses face labor shortages of qualified candidates.
New job growth has grown, but a disconcerting note is a huge portion of the new jobs are part-time jobs. One cannot build an economic recovery on part-time job growth no matter how the politicians try to spin it. There is a gnawing fear among some economists that the improving job creation data provides false confidence due to the part-time work problem. In November 2015 there were 20,157,000 part-time workers in the United States, nearly a fifth of the total work force. That has led to worries that the workforce may be becoming permanently polarized, with part-timers stuck on one side and full-time workers on the other.
But the number I am most concerned about is the labor force participation rate. In November 2015, the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.5%. An economy that has nearly 40% of its eligible workers sitting on the side lines is not where one wants to be. These people need housing, food and medical care, which means there is a tremendous strain being put on the welfare system in the United States. Welfare is a great concept until the bills have to be paid. Many countries who were once economic powers have gone bankrupt due to the welfare state. America is close to joining their ranks.
Soft Skills Lead to Jobs – Combat arms skills may not be directly translatable into a civilian job, but an Army career provides “valuable” soft skills in leadership, decision making, communications and persistence, according to a Rand Corp. resource guide for civilian hiring managers. Working under stress, being dependable, and showing attention to detail are skills new recruits learn in basic combat training; senior leadership courses develop skills in motivating others, project planning and critical thinking. Part of leadership training for even junior NCOs is oral communication, a key ability in managing, supervising and leading others. An important part of oral communication for job seekers is knowing how to explain those soft skills to a possible employer.
Veterans Denied Benefits Due to Improper Medical Testing – ScoutComms reports an in-depth KARE 11 report explored a VA practice of diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injuries in veterans and service members with a very basic screening method. The department was found by local authorities to have improperly denied a veteran’s benefits based on the test. VA doctors across the country use the same diagnostic method. This is some top notch local reporting that could have major national implications. In 2009, the Army medically discharged Army Captain Charles Gatlin because of his likely stable and permanent TBI suffered in combat. When Gatlin went to the VA, though, a quick TBI diagnostic used by a psychologist there found no TBI. So Gatlin was not awarded any benefits for his neurological impairment. Gatlin protested and a state medical board deemed the VA test for TBI to be insufficient in its rigor. Thanks in part to situations like this, the VA is doing a nationwide review of how it conducts TBI exams. But with hundreds of thousands of veterans who can claim service-connected TBI issues on their VA benefits, there is a huge potential for many errors to have piled up over the years.
To find out how to get your TBI issues claimed, please see those Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, Claims and Benefits Representatives throughout the state of Oklahoma.