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Veterans hiring campaign doubles goal to 200,000 positions

WASHINGTON — The 100,000 Jobs Mission is going to need a name change.

Officials from the veterans hiring campaign will announce plans Thursday to double their hiring goal, aiming to find 200,000 positions for former troops and military spouses by the end of the decade.

In little more than two years, the effort already has enlisted 123 companies and found employment for almost 93,000 individuals. Officials with the campaign said member companies were anxious to expand the hiring goal, given the recent success.

“A lot of our companies are getting good at this,” said Maureen Casey, director of military and veterans affairs at JPMorgan Chase, one of the campaign’s founding members.

“The need is there, and the challenge now is to connect our veterans and companies sooner and get them both the right opportunities.”

The campaign is also unveiling a new website Thursday — www.jobsmission.com — with expanded networking tools, veteran recruiting advice for companies and more information for small businesses interested in bringing on veterans as employees.

Organizers are also launching a new military and veteran spouse working group to re-examine career opportunities for that group, many of whom have trouble finding work because of frequent moves and inconsistent state certification rules.

Nationally, veterans unemployment has hovered around 6.5 percent for the last year, below the national rate but still well above pre-recession levels five years ago. Unemployment among veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has sat closer to 10 percent.

Despite that, the new 100,000 Job Mission goal is the latest bit of good news from corporate officials anxious to bring vets into the civilian workforce.

In April 2012, officials from the White House’s Joining Forces campaign announced plans to find 250,000 jobs for veterans and military spouses by 2016 after passing their 100,000 in about a year. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce earlier this year announced plans to boost its hiring goals to 500,000 vets and spouses by the end of 2014.

Casey said officials with the 100,000 Jobs mission aren’t worried that the new goal is too ambitious.

“There are going to be 1 million troops transitioning out of the military in coming years, and almost 50 percent of them are married,” she said. “There’s going to be an even greater need. And there’s a lot of excitement to help with that.”

shane.leo@stripes.com
Twitter: @LeoShane

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