When soldiers return home from deployments, it’s not only difficult to re-adjust; it can be nearly impossible to find a job.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After serving the United States during times of war, it’s still harder for veterans to find jobs than civilians. When you add an injury on top of that veteran status, the odds are even steeper.
A recently released study shows many employers see veterans as heroes but they don’t necessarily see vets as an asset in the workplace.
The Wounded Warrior Project’s “Warriors to Work” program is helping to change that.
Right now, the Bureau of Labor shows nearly six percent of veterans are unemployed. That’s higher than the latest national rate that’s just under five percent.
But, when you look at the group the Wounded Warrior Project serves, those hurt in service since September 11, 2001, the number of unemployed jumps to 12.5 percent.
"The combat like I had with infantry and a paratrooper, there's nothing for that when you get out,” said Travis Icke, an Army veteran.
Icke served deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and unfortunately returned home with PTSD, making his job as a prison guard too stressful.
"I had three failed suicide attempts. I was in a dark place in my life,” said Icke. “I came home one day and told my wife, 'I can't do this anymore.' This is just ridiculous."
Icke told Rick McKenna with the Wounded Warrior Project about his situation and McKenna pointed him in the right direction.
They interviewed, went to a job fair and started talking about Icke’s strengths.
"Once they're able to articulate that, then employers can see their value of what they're bringing to the table,” explained McKenna.
Now, Icke works for Fastenal as a trucker.
"It's fantastic. My stress level is way lower. My wife and I's relationship is flourishing and everything," said Icke.
McKenna said the Kansas City Wounded Warrior Project office has helped 300 veterans find work in the past two years.
Belinda Post can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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