High veterans' jobless rate leads to state and federal initiatives

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High veterans' jobless rate leads to state and federal initiatives

 

By Katherine Yung, Detroit Free Press Business Writer

In the early 1970s, Anthony Tarkowski learned the hard way that some employers did not want to hire soldiers returning from the Vietnam War.

The young veteran had just come back from Germany, where he had served after injuring his back during training. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't seem to get a job.

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Then one day, a human resources manager gave him some advice: Don't put a check mark next to the veteran's box on job applications. Just skip it.

At his next job interview, Tarkowski followed this advice and scored well on a test for a data-processing position. He got the job.

"Veterans are highly trainable people," said Tarkowski, who is now CEO of Sygnetics, a staffing firm in Rochester Hills. "They will come to work. They are dedicated."

More than four decades later, veterans are still struggling to get hired. Their high jobless rate, particularly for the youngest ones, is a major problem, sparking a number of initiatives on the state and national levels. It's the reason Detroit's Cobo Center will play host to a massive job fair this week that's expected to draw 10,000 veterans.

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High veterans' jobless rate leads to state and federal initiatives


 

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