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Veteran Re-Employment Program Soldiers On Despite Pandemic

Clients at Veterans Village San Diego go through job training.

Credit: Veterans Village

Above: Clients at Veterans Village San Diego go through job training.

The US Department of Labor awarded Veterans Village a $733,000 grant this week to bring homeless veterans back into the workplace. It was part of $53 million in grants to 157 organizations across the country.

While the current unemployment rate for veterans fell for the second consecutive month in June, it still sits at more than double the number of jobless veterans reported in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In June, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans had an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent, a little bit lower than the overall national average but more than double the 3.9 unemployment rate for the same veterans in June of 2019.

Despite the dismal jobs numbers, Veterans Village is getting calls from employers.

“We actually have employers who are reaching out to us, to tell us they have jobs that are open,” said Brittney Murillo, assistant to the director of employment services at Veterans Village.

“Bus drivers. We do a lot of commercial truck driving licence, long haul. Amazon delivery stuff, there is a big need for that right now since everyone is shopping online. Also a lot of armed security,” Marillo said.

Reported by Steve Walsh

Veterans Village, a nonprofit, provides a number of services for homeless veterans, including housing, drug treatment and job training.

“We want to make sure we are putting them into a field that they are going to enjoy as well as have the competency to do it,” added Marillo.

Much of the training has been moved online since the coronavirus outbreak. Face-to-face meetings are now being replaced by conference calls and class sizes have been cut to provide social distancing. Despite this, Marillo says the organization’s placement rate is still roughly 84 percent for people who go through their program.

Listen to this story by Steve Walsh.

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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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