Female Vets Struggle To Find Work

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 11:37am

More than 20 percent of women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were unemployed last month.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 percent of female veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were unemployed in December.

Their jobless rates started at just under 10 percent last year.

They've played unprecedented roles in the wars in the Middle East, but when they leave the service, women are finding it harder to get jobs than their male counterparts.

Iraq War veteran Yadira Carrasquillo worked in public affairs.

"When I came back from Iraq, I was so driven, because being a Captain and with my skills I knew I was going to get a job," she says.

But Yadira came up dry.

Passionate about green energy, she focused her search there.

She posted resumes, applied to jobs on-line, paid a company to help her improve her resume, and even took an internship, but it led nowhere.

Maurice Wilson helps veterans reintegrate to civilian life.

He says most veterans want to change fields, but don't have the right support.

"What's the first step you take to get into this new career? 90% of us don't know because we've never had to think about that because we've operated within the military construct," he explains.

Yadira found jobs, but they were outside her interest and paid little.

She thinks gender has been an issue.

"Its just been more difficult because every time that I applied for a job they'd give it to a man," she says.

Yadira also thinks her military skills have been under-valued by potential employers.

"I don't think that the civilian side knows how important those skills are, because those skills you cant teach in any school. You have to go through it and you have to live it," she says.

Having her boyfriend help support her while looking for work allowed Yadira to wait for the right job, but now they're expecting a child.

Yadira feels the pressure.

"Now the game is on," she says. "It's like whatever I can find out there. It will be in any area that's going to make money, I will...right now I can't be picky."
 

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