The Arizona Chamber Foundation has just released a report about the employment picture for veterans in our state. Its verdict: conditions could improve with more communication and cooperation among different groups.
Suzanne Kinney, executive director of the foundation, says the "Economic Opportunity for Arizona Veterans" report helps to highlight the importance of employing former military service members while providing policy recommendations to elected officials, veterans and other members of our community.
"We also became aware that there are a lot of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghan wars and they have an unemployment rate of almost 11 percent, so we felt that there was a need to connect employers with these highly qualified veterans," Kinney says.
To assist in this effort and increase awareness, the chamber has established a new group, the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
It's being led by Craig Doyle, the Arizona regional president for Comerica Bank.
Doyle is also a captain in the Navy Reserve who has been deployed on active duty. He is very familiar with the challenges that many veterans face when trying to transition into civilian life and enter the private-sector workforce.
He says some of the challenges can include stress due to the rapid changes in their personal lives.
"It's important that employers have veterans in the hiring process because they help with that transition and help translate the skill sets, the understanding and make it smooth for these veterans, especially those returning from the conflicts," Doyle says.