National Guardsman Jonathan Terry spent a year searching for a job after he returned to Nebraska from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The best he could find paid him $10 per hour to be a bar bouncer.
He finally landed a temporary job in January teaching leadership courses for the military, but that position could end soon due to federal budget cuts.
Terry and other veterans are urging state lawmakers to pass two bills that would give Nebraska's veterans preference for state jobs and contracts.
Nebraska's overall veterans' unemployment rate was about 3.9 percent in 2011, but it's worse for veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 11 percent in 2011.
Terry says the government should support people who served their country as they transition back into civilian life.
The Nebraska Department of Labor has scheduled an employment workshop for veterans and spouses from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the department's Lincoln Career Center. The workshop is being held in preparation for the U.S. Chamber Hiring Our Heroes Fair April 2nd at the Lancaster Event Center.
Presenters will discuss how veterans can leverage their military experience, tap into the hidden job market, create a resume that gets noticed and prepare for successful interviews.
Preregistration for the workshop is required. Contact Troy Larsen at 402-471-2438 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hiring Our Heroes registration information is online at HOH.greatjob.net. Employers registered for the hiring fair are listed at dol.nebraska.gov.
Gov. Dave Heineman and military leaders meantime have kicked off a public awareness campaign to reduce suicides among veterans. The "Not One More Life" campaign will focus on emotional issues that service members and veterans face.
The campaign is a joint effort of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs and Nebraska Chapter 7 of the Disabled American Veterans.
The campaign includes radio announcements and more than 5,000 bumper stickers that promote a crisis line, 1-800-273-8255. The bumper stickers will be distributed to county veteran services officers in all 93 Nebraska counties. The crisis line is available to veterans as well as their friends and family members.