WJNO Palm Beach: New Study To Integrate Veterans Into The Civilian Workforce
Author: Jim Edwards
Posted: July 15, 2013

See the original article from WJNO here.

Portland State University is launching a five year project to study and implement workplace training for supervisors of returning veterans. It's the first research project of it's kind in the United States to implement supervisor training as part of addressing the particular needs of reintigrating veterans, with the ultimate goal of improving the workplace and keeping veterans employed.

As a veteran who returned to civilian life in 1968, I too found it difficult to find work. The trouble was partly my fault. I was in the U.S. Navy first sent to school for six months in Pensacola to learn what would become my military trade. At graduation, we all received our duty. Some were sent to Japan, others to Scotland and Germany and all over the world. I would be sent to Winter Harbor, Maine for two years. Once there, I seemingly integrated quite easily into a military lifestyle and my job. I also learned to have a life outside the military. Not once did I really consider what I would do when my time came to an end. When It did, I returned home to Jacksonville, Florida and started looking for work. I ended up working at a car stereo place, installing tape players in cars. I was horrible at it because I'd never done it before and was not very mechanically inclined. Needless to say it didn't work out and I found myself once again out of work. I couldn't find anything. There were no jobs in the civilian world for my military trade. It seemed there weren't too many companies out there who needed my expertise after working for the National Security Agency. So I ended up reinlisting in the Navy and was sent to Japan for nearly three years and then Hawaii for a couple. This time as my duty was nearing an end I took classes to get into broadcasting and eventually got into radio when I got out. I tell that story because in today's economy I know it must be so much harder for returning veterans and I applaud this study.

This study will take place in Oregon and was funded by a five million dollar grant from the Department of Defense.

Doctor Leslie Hammer, a PSU professor of psychology and an expert in occupational psychology and work and family issues says while the Obama Administration has implemented incentive programs for businesses to hire returning veterans, little has been done to retain those employees once they've been hired or once they return to their old jobs after coming back from active duty.

This will be an interesting study to watch. We'll have to keep an eye out for the results. For more on the study go to: