Survey Aimed at Understanding Veterans' First Jobs

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WASHINGTON — Veterans unemployment has dropped steadily over the last two years, but no one knows whether the jobs they are finding are any good.

A new survey aims to track that. On Monday, officials from Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families and the behavioral health firm VetAdvisor launched a job retention survey looking at troops' first postmilitary employment, and how long they stayed in those jobs.

Researchers said the goal is to help veterans get on career paths quicker and help companies better retain talented employees with a military background.

"We don't want veterans just to become 'starter employees,'" said Dan Frank, CEO of VetAdvisor. "The companies we're talking to are realizing it's not just about hiring veterans but keeping them, too."

Overall veterans unemployment has remained at or below the national rate for the last five years.

But Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have faced a more difficult job market. As of last month, one in 10 looking for work were left frustrated, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Researchers with the survey said that veterans who do find work can face problems adjusting from military life to corporate culture, sometimes aggravated by civilian co-workers with preconceptions about veterans' illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Frank said he's hopeful the survey can identify how problematic those challenges are, and offer solutions on ways both workers and employers can fix them.

The groups are hoping to collect at least 5,000 responses for the effort, with findings to be released this spring.

To take part in the survey, visit

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Veteran Jobs