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New Program launched To Help Out Of Work Veterans

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 02 Jun 2012 05:01pm | comments
Marcus Boone.

The unemployment rate for veterans in Mississippi is more than 2-points higher than the state wide average.MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports a new program is being launched to help Mississippi veterans find work.

40-year old Marcus Boone spent 14-years in the air force and as a contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan until earlier this year.

He is not working but says his service should give him a leg up in the job market.

"I was prepared leadership wise. Just the experience that I gained. Being a leader. Character. Dealing with people. Being fair with people. The work ethic. All of the things that were instilled in us, I think it prepares me. I got two degrees. I think I am prepared," Boone said.

At a factory in Minnesota, President Barack Obama announced on Friday a new program to help unemployed Mississippi veterans who could have job ready skills but lack the proper civilian certifications.

"Unfortunately a lot of returning heroes with advanced skills like these, they don't get hired simply because they don't have civilian licenses or certifications that a lot of companies require. If you can maintain the most advanced weapons in the world. If you are an electrician on a navy ship. Than you can manufacture the next generation of advanced technologies in factories like this one," Obama said.

The president says the program could help 130-thousand unemployed veterans.

But the challenge is more difficult for veterans like 54-year old  Melvin Simpson of Jackson, who has been looking for work since he was laid off at the start of the recession.

"They laid off somewhere like 18 people and I was in the lay-offs. And that was in 2008. I think my service record is a positive for that when I go search for a job. But with the economy being bad right now it is hard for companies to hire. There is nothing going on right now," Simpson said.

The unemployment rate among the youngest Mississippi veterans is much higher...as high as 30-percent for veterans under 24 years old are out of work....and recent job reports indicate that the economy is adding jobs at only a sluggish pace.

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Marcus Boone.


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