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Working to get military veterans back to work

Vets currently face an 8.6 percent unemployment rate.

WASHINGTON — Approximately 200,000 service members transition from military service to civilian life each year, according to the Department of Defense.

But times are tough during the pandemic.

For July, veteran unemployment stands at 8.6 percent, more than double what it was before COVID-19, and more than five percentage points higher than last year.

"Veteran unemployment before COVID was at historic lows. I mean, employers were really seeing the value of military experience, and they were in high demand," said Navy veteran Jennifer Hadac,  Director of Military & Spouse Career Resources for RecruitMilitary, which frequently holds virtual and in-person career fairs for vets, including one on Thursday.

Her firm has 1.5 million job seekers and 186,000 current jobs posted, including 5,000 news ones as of today. She is upbeat about vets' job prospects.

"With unemployment numbers being what they are, employers that are hiring are focusing on the veteran community," she said.

Meanwhile in Washington, lawmakers Thursday pushed the "Veterans Economic Recovery Act." It would create a rapid retraining program to provide unemployed veterans and reservists with 12 months of educational benefits to pursue training in high-demand occupations.

"We owe it to those who've served to provide those resources without delay so they can thrive in their post-service careers," said Rep Mike Levin (D-California).

Without objection, the measure passed unanimously out of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.