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The young veterans of the Iraq and Afghan War are true American heroes. They gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that our liberties and way of life would remain intact. No one person symbolizes bravery, dedication and unselfishness more than the American soldier. Such impressive qualities sound like perfect skills to put on a resume, yet far too many veterans struggle to find work upon returning home. A 2008 Veterans Affairs Department report found that the percentage of veterans not in the labor force jumped to 23% in 2005 from 10% in 2000.

The reality is young veterans, who sacrificed everything for their country, cannot even find jobs in that country when they return home. Those who do find jobs can hardly live on the income they make. Half of young veterans with steady employment – ages 20 to 24 – earned less than $25,000 per year. That means half of our brave vets live below the 2011 poverty line of $22, 350. This travesty is a disappointing fact in America today. These soldiers have returned to one of the worst economic recessions and job markets in a century. Many of these soldiers are educated. They are professionals who enlisted in the United States Military. Despite their service and credentials, these young men and women face an uphill battle in finding employment.

Why is it so difficult for young vets to find work? One could say that it’s not only difficult for vets to find work, but for all young Americans to find work. In reality, the 23% veteran unemployment rate is more than double the rate of the general population. Much of America empathizes with the soldier’s plight and is greatly concerned with the current state of affairs.

But with the harsh reality of our economic environment, few are in a position to effect the situation. Politicians have attempted to find a solution to this problem, resulting in several significant federal incentives. President Obama proposed a “Returning Heroes” tax credit for companies who hire unemployed vets and a “Wounded Warrior” tax credit for those who hire vets with disabilities. Despite the federal push, things remain discouragingly unchanged.

There is another option worth exploring; the virtual world of telecommuting is a smart alternative to the traditional methods of work that have failed our soldiers so far. There are thousands of legitimate work-from-home opportunities. Many of these jobs require little more than a computer, internet access, and a ‘can-do’ attitude. Some work-at-home positions provide steady paychecks while others allow you to work as a freelancer. These jobs can be done from home, a parent’s home, or even a restaurant with Wi-Fi. Working as a telecommuter allows veterans to acclimate to their new lives and reconnect with their loved ones without forfeiting income.

Soldiers can spend time with their spouses, make up for lost time with their children, and enjoy all the things they have missed. Many telecommuting companies actively seek veterans for their openings and hope to give assistance our country’s heroes with a steady paycheck. Schedules are flexible and can be adjusted for military obligations or restrictions. Several types of telecommuting work lend itself particularly well to the specialized training soldiers may have received in combat.

Although other telecommuting jobs are not directly connected with military skills, many companies favor veterans due to the high level of personal skills or college degrees acquired through the military. Finding works in these fields may allow many soldiers to easily transition into civilian work. One at-home career in high demand is data entry. Many soldiers acquire computer skills through their military training. Jobs are available in word processing, data mining, spreadsheet maintenance and medical transcription. Medical transcription is especially applicable to those soldiers who have experience as a medic. Data entry positions offer flexible hours and usually pay per completed project.

Many soldiers receive extensive training in software and computer engineering. Those who have these abilities can find work as telecommuter in the IT field. There is a strong demand for telecommuters who can work as technical support experts, network configuration analysts, database designers, web interface designers, SEO specialists and software engineers.

These jobs are essential to the day-to-day operations of nearly every large company. Hours with these positions can be flexible or more traditional. Wages may be hourly or again paid upon completed projects. Working in IT is another great way for veterans to translate their military skills into a civilian position.

Many of the vets from the Iraq and Afghan wars are highly educated and intelligent citizens. The majority of the troops that served in the Gulf War were drawn from the reserve and National Guard units (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). These are citizens with professions who held other full-time jobs or students who were working towards completing a bachelor’s degree. These are not just career military men. They have many skills and interests outside of the military.

For those veterans who have patience and personality, working as a customer service representative may be a good fit. Customer service reps work out of their homes which serve as independent call centers. Reps handle customer requests & complaints, troubleshoot problems, and communicate their extensive knowledge of the product or service. Many of the companies that hire customer service reps make training available, offer hourly pay, and the possibility of working full-time.

Other veterans may want a position that allows them use charisma, creativity and the power of persuasion. For those people, an abundance of at-home sales jobs are available. Sales agents are responsible for generating leads, establishing a rapport with the client, conducting sales calls and attaining client commitments. A sales position, given impressive sales figures, allows you to get noticed quickly.

Telecommuting can also play a large role in improving the lives of disabled veterans. Many disabled veterans can no longer serve and have an equally difficult time finding traditional office jobs. Driving or taking public transportation to work is not always an option. With work-from-home positions, there is no need to worry and struggle with this hassle. The New York Times wrote, “Many disabled workers say they consider telecommuting to be the single most important factor enabling them to work.” With a telecommuting position, disabled vets can still pursue a career upon returning home. They can find meaningful work and provide for their families from the comfort of an at-home office. Their boss will know nothing about the disability and will only recognize the employee for the quality of his or her work. With a telecommuting position, disabled vets can have a smooth transition into the civilian workforce.

Bravery, determination and leadership are the qualities that make up an American soldier. These same qualities make successful businessmen; yet our young veterans can’t find work. The job market as a whole has fallen to pieces, but our brightest and bravest deserve better. These men and women risk their lives to ensure that our lives remain unchanged. When they return from war all our vets want is the opportunity to work as a civilian and support their family. The office jobs are not there and manufacturing jobs are rare. Telecommuting can brighten the lives of our vets. Telecommuting offers flexibility, reliability and the chance to make a living. With telecommuting, veterans can not only put their military training to use, but they are also able pursue the skills and interests they had before the war. Vets can work in sales, marketing, customer service or computer engineering. Telecommuting offers our veterans a fresh start with new and exciting opportunities. Click here to learn more.

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