Though the nation's unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly last month to 9%, the jobless rate remains by historic standards stubbornly high. That's especially true among certain populations, including adults without high school diplomas, teenagers and military veterans.

Among veterans, the overall unemployment rate of working-age vets, ages 21 to 64, was nearly 30%, according to data compiled last year by the Census Bureau. However, as with the general population, veterans with disabilities have a much higher unemployment rate -- 41% -- than their counterparts who've returned from conflict without one -- 27%.

More alarming is that the 41% jobless rate may be a conservative estimate. That's especially true for veterans who return with two signature disabilities of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), which frequently go undiagnosed.

According to statistics compiled in a recent study by Cornell University researchers, nearly 20% of recently returning service members from Iraq and Afghanistan screened positive for depression or PTSD, while some 19% of troops received a probable TBI during deployment. Moreover, about 30% have more than one disability, further complicating veterans' diagnoses and treatment.

Few Employers Are Ready

Such disabilities pose a challenge for employers when it comes to recruiting, hiring and accommodating returning vets, says study author Hannah Rudstam of the ILR School at Cornell University. Working in concert with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an advocacy organization, Rudstam and her team polled more than 1,000 human-resource professionals nationwide to assess their readiness to hire and accommodate disabled vets.

The study found few were fully prepared to meet the needs of disabled vets in the workplace. "Though employers indicated having good will in this area and did see some benefits in employing veterans with disabilities, they were struggling to translate this good will into solid recruiting, hiring and accommodation practices," Rudstam said in a statement releasing the findings.

Preliminary findings from employer responses showed that 85% were unfamiliar with TBI, often an unseen disability. In an interview, Rudstam says many respondents were familiar with TBI but were largely unfamiliar with how it manifests itself in the workplace or how to accommodate someone with the injury. Further, some employers weren't sure if people with such a disability are even able to work.

Accommodating Disabled Workers Needn't Be Costly

Employers are hamstrung in their efforts to accommodate disabled veterans by a prohibition imposed on them that prevents them from asking whether employees are indeed disabled. "So an employer might not know that they hired a vet with a disability," Rudstam says.

Another factor that may be contributing to employers' lack of willingness to recruit disabled vets is the belief many have that accommodating disabled workers can be expensive. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses are required to make "reasonable accommodations" to aid disabled workers in performing their jobs should an employee make a disability known.

Cornell's survey showed that employers typically believe such accommodations will run into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. But in actuality, Rudstam says, most cost $500 or less. Further, the law stipulates that employers needn't make accommodations if they impose an "undue hardship" on business operations.

The definition of "reasonable accommodation" is wide-ranging. It includes practical items, such as making facilities accessible to disabled workers, but it also includes other, more job-related actions, such as reassigning employees to positions for which they're qualified but better suited because of their disabilities.

On a Road to Termination?

Most important, for veterans with these kinds of disabilities, employers need to establish a culture of trust and openness, so that veterans can feel comfortable about coming forward with an accommodation request, Rudstam says.

"The best thing that employers can do to welcome back veterans is to look very carefully at what happens when somebody in their organization comes forward with a disability," she says. Employers should examine whether they're doing what's needed to assess and support disabled workers, or are they tacitly putting them on a road to termination?

"Veterans issues are to a large degree disability issues," Rudstam says. If a business doesn't exhibit trust and openness when it comes to being inclusive of disabled workers, they're ability to attract or retain veterans is likely lagging, too.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

Introduction to Retirement Funds

Target date funds help you maintain a long term portfolio.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

54 Comments

Filter by:
archtype11

Hello,
My name is Brad Waldron and I represent a company called Galileo Sourcing.  We are a newly formed company working in concert with Pearl Interactive Network, (www.pearlinter.org).  We are concentrating our efforts on companies and corporations in metropolitan areas of the Northeast.  Please take a look at the Pearl Interactive Networks website and see some of the excellent work done by Merry Korn and her group out of Ohio.  You are also welcome to contact Merry Korn on our behalf.  We are putting disabled American Vets back to work on site, or from their homes in a virtual office setting. If you know own a company or work for one that would be interested in having one of our sales staff give a brief presentation please contact me at: bwaldron@galileosourcing.com

April 02 2012 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
llwlknsn

Additional victims of outsourcing.

February 14 2011 at 8:34 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
spike

There are a lot of veterans .Many vets are liberals and many vets are conservatives.The diferance between vets and many of the rest of you is they fought for this country and you just fight from behind your computer screens.How dare you belittle a disabled vet or any other vet because of his or her politics.What have you ever done for your country.Vets who left their health on a battle field do deserve every consideration regardless of their plitical affiliation.Ever been in the service of your country sonny???
Yeah everyone loves the troops.Not many love the vets.
God ,when you are blessing america and the troops,don't forget to bless the vets.

February 14 2011 at 4:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to spike's comment
sevenv

Better than I could have said it!...

February 14 2011 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
seavet

I am, and worked with veterans for 35 years. Veterans come from all walks of life, some are conservative in their thinking, some are more liberal, some distrust the government and some could care less. What does matter is that veterans who have given anywhere from 4 to 30 years of their life to defending the country want some considerations from the country for that service. This country talks a good story about it service personnel but often does not walk the talk.

February 14 2011 at 3:38 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
samuelpapa

I propose a position that could only be filled by disabled veterans and that would be of classroom disciplinarian and facilitator. Classrooms cold be larger to justify their position and parents would once again speak with honor to the people who are telling them of their students misbehavior while also protecting the rights of students and teachers.

February 14 2011 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
armull66

The article states that employers are hamstrung in their efforts to accommodate disabled veterans by a prohibition imposed on them that prevents them from asking whether employees are indeed disabled. In fact, federal contractors and subcontractors are REQUIRED to offer employees the opportunity to voluntarily self-identify any disabilities and any need for reasonable accommodations. Currently, employers are prohibited from asking about disabilities and accommodations pre-job offer, however, this may be changing in the near future.

See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/e1Fa3C

February 14 2011 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kafienkarl

the Republicans care about the vet......right... remember Walter Reed Hospital...they don't care. they just use soldiers to fight for wall street/BIG oil.

February 14 2011 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kafienkarl's comment
salwhatthehell

you are so right. you would not believe the things are government does that are not made public. when ever a country gets overthrown our govt is behind it. they make our poor soldiers do things in the name of democracy when big corporations are really behind it all. dole inc in latin america quells an uprising from workers with violence and military action, just because they want better wages. read the Shock Doctrine by naomi klein she will set you all straight. signed. veteran u.s. paratrooper rapid deployment force ft.bragg n.c.

February 14 2011 at 2:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
retn71

I am a retired vet (over 20 years active) who was injured in a training accident. It in no way affected my job performance. Just today I was told that after five years of dedicated work (mostly 60 plus hours a week) there will be a cutback and my services were no longer needed, however, if business picked back up they would call me back. Where is a 59 year old man supposed to find gainful employment? Three people were hired after me, so the "Last hired first fired" rule did not apply. I already took a $500.00 per month pay cut three months ago - now out the door. Do we vets with a disability have any form of protection?

February 14 2011 at 2:15 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to retn71's comment
sevenv

Sorry Brother no longer applies in the "operational" sense.....close to the same thing happened to me ....but,(thank God for foresight, pension and unconventional thinking), ...I was ready for it,....gonna have to strategic.....Check in with Social Securty,might not help,...BUT They may do a review of your case,....especially if you recieved workmans'comp....Think Hobby.....Summers coming get out and about meet new folks...

February 14 2011 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kafienkarl

where's the weapons of mass destruction?...........yes i'm a vet.

February 14 2011 at 2:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
sevenv

As a 'Nam vet,(2 tours)..... I have really seen the change in the countrys base philosphy,since that time ...I mean the big Family thing is about DEAD,.........and more and more you see the emergence of the "Groups"........You see this from military famlies shopping second hand stores,....to the seemingly endless duty rotations of soldiers in overseas assignments,(You have been trained, we need you and we do not give a damn about your family),............In Nam you KNEW how many rotations you had to do,(one US,[draftee],two Regular Army,MORE if needed or special MOS)..after that it was ALL voluntary........First the draft was eliminated,(1972?),........So what you are seeing is these many years since is people who NEVER had to serve,move into the upper ranks of business,...who have no feel for the military other than to coin sweet phrases like,"Those who serve so WE won't have to",....God I love that one OR the one you see here "Thank you for your service",(but if you were dumb enough to serve,no job here),...... ...My all time "favorite" talk show host ,....the Conservatives' most CONSERVATIVE Conservative,...spits out alot of venom...but during the Viet Nam war HE was one of the BIGGEST draft dodgers EVER........Let us look at past PResidents Hmm Clinton,no,. Bush...Oh Yeah same thing,....well let us talk about Vice President,( tough guy), DICK,...Oh my .....three draft deferments,(see every time YOU got defered some poor sucker BEHIND you HAD to take your place,(He ,He ,He),.....Ever notice how the "new" era of talk show hosts WON"T go into the military to expres their commitment?..... ,YET will make sure YOU DO?......No wonder the "new" wave of "Managers" ain't hiring Vets,...They are Royalty and ,....my fellow vets are disposable commodities............But please remember NOT one of them has the courage you have,Yeah they got the jobs that you can't have,but I'd much rather know you than.........them,(sic).........

February 14 2011 at 2:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply