With a national unemployment rate hovering below 10 percent, finding a job is challenging for many Americans. But for veterans trying to re- enter the workforce, landing a position can be even tougher.
Part of the reason is that many companies fear that veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder.
But while some veterans do suffer from severe PTSD and need medication and counseling, others are able to cope with minimal assistance, experts say.
According to a Society of Human Resources survey, 46 percent of surveyed employers said they believed PTSD and other mental issues would be a problem in hiring veterans, but only 13 percent said they had real problems with veterans in the workforce who had PTSD.
With some estimates of 294,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returning home with PTSD, the odds of finding employment if companies turn away from those with PTSD are daunting.
Kurt Ronn, president of HRworks, says the key is making sure that a hiring manager will follow through and hire a veteran. Interested hiring managers can find help in hiring veterans through the Wounded Warrior Program.
There are nearly a half million people on LinkedIn who currently list the military as part of their profile for the professional social network. LinkedIn Corp. says after mining its data, the most popular industries that attract vets include information technology, telecommunications, financial services, law, computer software, government, higher education, health care, retail and management consulting.
While under the law no one is required to disclose in their interviews that they have PTSD, many veterans often want to be honest with employers and so reveal their condition. The problem is they often end up losing a job because of it, says Linda Sykes, a retired Marine and project manager of military recruitment for HRworks.
Sykes and Ronn say that employers may be more comfortable dealing with a disability they can see, such as the loss of a limb, rather than something that may not be easily visible, such as symptoms of PTSD.
Sykes says that at a time when companies desperately need workers who are focused on helping them be more competitive and boosting the bottom line, vets offer the right solution.
"The military is mission- driven. Their training is going to kick in when they've been given an assignment, and they're going to focus on what they have to do to make things happen," she says.
Read original publication in the Arizona Business and Money section of AZcentral.com