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Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lauer, assigned to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Far East Detachment, asks Kristina Pressley, a veteran transition specialist, for advice to prepare his resume during a two-day transition workshop at Camp Zama, Japan hosted by Hire Heroes, USO Oct. 20, 2016. The Obama administration last year continued its seven-year-old commitment to bringing veterans into the federal government, with former service members making up 44 percent of all full-time hires.

Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lauer, assigned to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Far East Detachment, asks Kristina Pressley, a veteran transition specialist, for advice to prepare his resume during a two-day transition workshop at Camp Zama, Japan hosted by Hire Heroes, USO Oct. 20, 2016. The Obama administration last year continued its seven-year-old commitment to bringing veterans into the federal government, with former service members making up 44 percent of all full-time hires. (Noriko Kudo/US Army)

WASHINGTON -- American businesses are doing a better job of hiring veterans, yet still struggle understanding them, according to a new report from Hiring our Heroes, a component of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

More businesses are making the recruitment of veterans a higher priority, according to the report released Wednesday and called Veterans in the Workplace: Understanding the challenges and creating long-term opportunities for veteran employees.

But more than half of the 400 hiring managers in the survey cited a lack of familiarity with the military. More so, many companies do not provide training to help the hired veterans and civilian employees better relate to each other.

“This lack of knowledge inevitably makes it more challenging to recruit and place veterans in the right jobs,” the report reads.

Hiring our Heroes concluded from their research that more training could enhance understanding of veterans and create better treatment for them in the workplace.

For the study, 1,000 veterans between the ages of 18 and 45 were surveyed in June. All of them had left active duty within the last five years. About 10 percent of them said they had been a target of negative treatment at work, and another 40 percent said they’ve experienced positive and negative treatment.

Much of the negative treatment had to do with a perception of veterans having mental health issues or receiving preferential treatment.

One veteran surveyed was reported as saying: “Nonveterans in the workplace look at veterans as privileged and underqualified people who don’t really deserve to be there.”

Another veteran surveyed said his or her supervisor “feels as if I have [post-traumatic stress disorder], therefore I’m not chosen for any training,” according to the report.

The study also found veterans “struggle to find their first post-military job,” and when they do get into their first job, 44 percent leave within one year.

Many of them reported leaving because they didn’t see long-term opportunities.

Four out of five veterans surveyed said they faced some period of unemployment after leaving active duty, and 53 percent said they were unemployed for at least four months.

Those veterans who started their job search six months before separating from the military were twice as likely to have a job before leaving active duty.

Female veterans have a harder time finding employment after service than male veterans, the report found. Fourteen percent of female veterans said they were looking for their first post-military job at the time of the survey, compared to seven percent of male veterans.

wentling.nikki@stripes.com Twitter: @nikkiwentling

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Nikki Wentling has worked for Stars and Stripes since 2016. She reports from Congress, the White House, the Department of Veterans Affairs and throughout the country about issues affecting veterans, service members and their families. Wentling, a graduate of the University of Kansas, previously worked at the Lawrence Journal-World and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The National Coalition of Homeless Veterans awarded Stars and Stripes the Meritorious Service Award in 2020 for Wentling’s reporting on homeless veterans during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, she was named by the nonprofit HillVets as one of the 100 most influential people in regard to veterans policymaking.
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