Policy, Law & Regulation
Public policy impacting veteran employment is complex and multifaceted, leading to public-sector initiatives that range from those that incur direct to indirect financial costs (including costs either to address or to ignore the employment issue), implicate national economic competitiveness, and those positioned to leverage the training and experience afforded to veterans as a consequence of taxpayer dollars. Public-sector initiatives also invoke the unemployment situation of veterans as a national security concern, given the imperative of fielding an all-volunteer military.
In general, the motivations driving policy and regulatory efforts impacting veteran employment can be categorized as one (or more) of the following:
National Obligation to Veterans:
The need for veterans to be supported and successful in their post-service employment pursuits is critical in order to maintain and all-volunteer force. Lengthy and frequent deployments impact family members, particularly children, in ways which we may not yet understand, and for which there may not yet be adequate support and response. Employers may be unwilling to hire future reservists and guard members when the burdens of service fall to those components, and when deployments may be more frequent than previously contemplated. Such issues may be likely to deter future service by current members as well as future generations. This may be particularly true if service is viewed as having a negative impact on future life-course, including employment for veterans. Further, financial instability caused by lack of employment likely contributes to family destabilization, increasing these impacts. [Read Article: National Obligation to Veterans]
The Cost of Unemployment and Related Public Benefit Programs:
Unemployment benefits are costly and time limited. Disability benefits are both costly and potentially ongoing for an indefinite period of time. Other public benefits which often accompany disability benefits, such as food stamps and housing vouchers, are also potentially life-long entitlements. Some benefits are means-tested, and are therefore less likely to result in situations where the individual is gainfully employed. Usage rates of public benefit programs may be mitigated by employment; the accompanying wellness resulting from gainful employment and history suggests that effective and expedited paths to reemployment (or education) may prevent reliance on disability and other public benefits throughout one’s lifetime. [Read Article: Cost of Unemployment and Related Public Benefit Programs]
Health and Wellness Implications:
Unemployment leads to poor health outcomes and as previously noted, potentially increased higher use of the public benefits system in the best cases. Unemployment is correlated with increasing rates of homelessness, severe mental health impacts, substance abuse and alcoholism, and even suicide in the worst cases. Employment is known to positively impact health and wellness, and may potentially prevent poor health outcomes leading to increased public expenditure or poor life outcomes for veterans. Unemployment and lack of access to health benefits may further exacerbate physical and mental-health illnesses. [Read Article: Health and Wellness Implications]
Enabling National Competitiveness:
Public education and training expenditures are decreasing in times of fiscal restraint, and there is a strong case to be made that leveraging the unique skills and education represented by veterans will enhance national competitiveness. Veterans are already a select group, with 7 in 10 Americans ineligible for military service due to education, criminal records, substance or alcohol use, and other factors. “Over 97% of all entering service members have a high school diploma and above (not including the GED), compared to a rate of only 81% for the general population (excluding the GED/alternative credential),”1 compared to a rate of only 70.5% for the general population. As of 2011, 27.20% of veterans had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher and 34.19% of veterans had some college or an associate’s degree. Over 82% of officers had either a bachelor’s degree (45.0%) or an advanced degree (37.7%), compared to only 29.9% of the U.S. population age 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree.2 Veterans also have significant work experience, ranging from a few years to more than 20 years of service, which, when appropriately matched to private sector jobs, may impact the economic competitiveness of U.S. businesses and industries. [Read Article: Enabling National Competitiveness]
Leveraging Public-Sector Investments in Human Capital:
Related to the above argument, the U.S. has invested in both accession and training for each military member. Accession costs in FY 2010 were $22,898 per member of the Army, and included funding for educational loan repayment and the Army College Fund. Costs for training averaged $73,000 for those with advanced individual training (AIT) at a second duty station, or $54,000 for those who attended AIT at the original training location.3 This cost is significantly higher than the 10-year average cost reported by GAO for FY94 through FY03, of $6,400 per selected Army occupation. Other service averages for the same 10-year period were $18,000 for the Navy and $7,400 for the Air Force, both reported as training cost averages for members separated under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.4 A more recent report by GAO reported training and recruitment costs per service member ranging from $19,382 to $90,813 per person, with reported costs included varying by each service.5 Networks, trust, experience and other factors beyond training also are relevant components of human capital. [Read Article: Leveraging Investments in Human Capital]
At all levels of government policies, laws, and regulations are being proposed and enacted to address these public and private sector concerns. On a monthly basis the Institute for Veterans and Military Families publishes a list of recently announced government, industry, and community-based policies, programs and initiatives that have been proposed or enacted. The list is not all-inclusive, but rather a ‘snapshot’ of programs focused on efforts positively impacting the employment situation of veterans in America. This information can be found on the second page of the monthly Employment Situation Reports, http://vets.syr.edu/employment/resources/
Understanding the availability of healthcare resources for veterans and their families is helpful for employers recruiting, hiring, and onboarding these members of the workforce.
The relationship between education and employment is well established. Providing education access resources supports the development and reintegration of the veteran as a member of the skilled workforce. A skilled workforce is a critical component for business competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Various regulations support the employment of veterans, including laws and regulations regarding disabled veterans. Resources are available to support accommodations for these valuable members of the workforce.
Support of Families
Research has shown a strong correlation between veteran physical and mental recovery and a supportive family. Providing resources and supports for the entire family helps reduce stress and improves physical and mental well-being for the entire family.
National Obligation to Veterans [attached]
Cost of Unemployment and Related Public Benefit Programs [attached]
Implications for Employment and Well Being [attached]
Enabling National Competitiveness [attached]
Leveraging Investments in Human Capital [attached]
Hayes J., Wakefield, B., Andresen, E. M., Scherrer, J., Traylor, L., Wiegmann, P., Demark, T., DeSouza, C. (2010). Identification of Domains and Measures for Assessment Battery to Examine Well-Being of Spouses of OIF/OEF Veterans with PTSD. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. Volume 47 Number 9, pages 825 — 840. Retrieved from http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/10/479/hayes.html
Employment Situation Reports
1 ICF International. (2010). Demographics 2010: Profile of the Military Community. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy; U.S. Census Bureau. (2010) American Community Survey- 2010 (population 25 and over). Retrieved from http://factfinder2.census.gov/.
2 ICF International. (2010). Demographics 2010: Profile of the Military Community. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Military Community and Family Policy); U.S. Department of Labor. (2012). Employment Situation of Veterans. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/vet.nr0.htm.
3 Support army recruiting: Frequently asked questions about recruiting. (2011, December 19). Retrieved from http://www.2k.army.mil/faqs.htm.
4 U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2005). Military personnel: Financial costs and loss of critical skills due to DOD’s homosexual conduct policy cannot be completed estimated (GAO-05-299). Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05299.pdf.
5 U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2005). Military personnel: Personnel and Cost Data associated with Implementing DOD’s Homosexual Conduct Policy (GAO-11-170). Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11170.pdf. (See Figure 5, Page 19.)