Last week the Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Army’s Military Tuition Assistance (TA) programs narrowly escaped sequestration-caused extinction that would have negatively impacted Veteran Unemployment.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the American Legion, the Student Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) the Senate passed an amendment to the Defense Continuing Resolution, H.R. 933, that will keep efforts alive to reinstate the TA program in all branches.
The amendment, S. Amdt. 72, was introduced by Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C. The Inhofe/Hagan amendment will require each military branch to continue operating their respective TA programs proportionate to the sequester.
Recent exiting Military Veterans knowingly face the worst unemployment statistics due to an extremely limited number of employment possibilities in those areas where they possess the most skills.
So it stands to reason that more and more veterans are increasingly utilizing TA programs in order to obtain skills necessary for civilian employment. What is already an extremely high veterans unemployment percentage would prove to be much higher if these TA programs are suspended. Why? Because the Government Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not generally count Students in the Labor Force, meaning they are often not counted among the unemployed.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Who is not in the labor force? Labor force measures are based on the civilian non-institutional population of U.S Citizens 16 years old and over. Excluded are persons under 16 years of age, all persons confined to institutions such as nursing homes and prisons, and persons on active duty in the Armed Forces.
The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed. The remainder—those who have no job and are not looking for one—are counted as “not in the labor force.” Many who are not counted in the labor force are either currently attending school or are retired.
When compiling their reports, a series of questions are asked each month of persons not in the labor force to obtain information about their desire for work, the reasons why they had not looked for work in the last 4 weeks, their prior job search, and their availability for work. These questions include:
- Do you currently want a job, either full or part time?
- What is the main reason you were not looking for work during the LAST 4 WEEKS?
- Did you look for work at any time during the last 12 months?
- LAST WEEK, could you have started a job if one had been offered?
These questions form the basis for estimating the number of persons who are not in the labor force but who are considered to be “marginally attached to the labor force.” These are persons without jobs who are not currently looking for work (and therefore are not counted as unemployed), but who nevertheless have demonstrated some degree of labor force attachment. Specifically, to be counted as “marginally attached to the labor force,” individuals must indicate that they currently want a job, have looked for work in the last 12 months (or since they last worked if they worked within the last 12 months), and are available for work.
“Discouraged workers” are a subset of the marginally attached. Discouraged workers best describe most U.S. veterans, who report they are not currently looking for work for one of four reasons:
- They believe no job is available to them in their line of work or area. (try finding your MOS in the workforce!)
- They had previously been unable to find work. (because most entered the service after high school)
- They lack the necessary schooling, training, skills, or experience. (but they do know how to clean a rifle, load a pack, fire a weapon and safely carry a grenade)
- Employers think they are too young or too old, or they face some other type of discrimination. (no explanation needed here…)
Cutting Military Tuition Assistance would do more than worsen unemployment statistics, it would serve as a shot in the back to all Military Armed Forces personnel; especially the thousands who are desperately attempting to reintegrate into American society. Keeping TA programs alive in all branches of the United States Military requires the support of your voice. Tell your legislators in the House to reinstate TA and thank your Senators for their support. YOU can do it all in one step by clicking here.