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Job Hunt Much Easier for Veterans in North Dakota

PHOTO: People across the state are honoring the 60,000 veterans who call North Dakota home. Courtesy U.S. Army
PHOTO: People across the state are honoring the 60,000 veterans who call North Dakota home. Courtesy U.S. Army
November 11, 2013

BISMARCK, N.D. - Many veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are finding the move back into the civilian workforce can present barriers, but it's a different story in North Dakota. With the oil boom, most veterans with some qualifications should be able to find work.

"And if you don't, as a veteran, more than likely we've got some programs out there that can help get them trained," said Lonnie Wangen, commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs. "So a veteran who walks into our office or a county service office, or even Job Service North Dakota, who really wants to get to work, we can put 'em to work."

Nationally, the unemployment rate for the youngest veterans, between ages 18 and 24, has been dropping, but is still at about 20 percent.

While the job hunt for veterans in North Dakota is better than elsewhere, the issue of mental health is one that lingers. Wangen said there are many programs for those dealing with anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, but it can sometimes be tough for the former soldiers to ask for help.

"Because they hate to have that tag, that stigma of being 'somebody with mental-health issues,' but once they visit with some of our professionals and caregivers and realize that it's not really a sign of weakness," he said. "So, it just takes a little bit of treatment and you can live your live normally again."

About 60,000 veterans currently call North Dakota home.

More information on veterans in North Dakota is online at nd.gov/veterans.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND