ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – As veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars come home, they face a new battle: unemployment.
The unemployment rate for veterans aged 20 to 24 is hovering around 30 percent. The labor department cites too few jobs and lack of clarity about what employers want.
This has led Missouri employers to team up to hire men and women who have served in the military.
On Thursday, Governor Jay Nixon honored Zoltek in St. Charles. It is one of 1,700 companies across the state to take a pledge to help the unemployed. Twenty percent of Zoltek’s workforce consists of veterans.
Also, St. Louis City is launching centers specifically aimed at helping veterans get hired.
The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), is taking part in the federal Gold Card Program, through which post-911 veterans receive six months of free one-on-one help looking for jobs, writing resumes, filling out applications and honing interview skills.
SLATE is also taking part in the federally-funded On-The-Job training program. Through OJT, SLATE will encourage companies to hire veterans by paying part of their salaries.
SLATE’s aim for veterans soon coming home is to start the new year with new jobs. It has two locations: 1520 Market in downtown St. Louis and 4811 Delmar in the Central West End.