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Supporting Tennessee Veterans, Every Day of the Year

PHOTO: Tennessee's 525,000 military veterans are being honored on this Veterans Day, but making sure they have the support they need happens every week of the year. Photo credit: Kathleen Tyler Conklin
PHOTO: Tennessee's 525,000 military veterans are being honored on this Veterans Day, but making sure they have the support they need happens every week of the year. Photo credit: Kathleen Tyler Conklin
November 11, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Many veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are finding the move back into civilian life can present barriers, but there is help - and it's year-round, not just on Veterans Day.

Yvette Martinez, assistant commissioner of outreach and communications for the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, said one of the programs that's proving to be successful is "Paychecks for Patriots," which held its first job fair last year.

"We saw more than 2,000 veterans hired just within that one statewide event," she said. "That event is now spreading across the country. We've had our second one this year. We had more employers involved and the employers we're working with, they see the value of veterans."

Nationally, the unemployment rate for the youngest vets, from ages 18 to 24, has been dropping, but is still at about 20 percent.

Another part of the effort, Martinez said, includes a Web-based tool from the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs that will launch this month, linking vets with schools and training.

"Every educational resource that's in the area, whether it's private, public or technical schools, will now be at all of our outreaches because that is another hurdle," she said. "Many of our veterans, especially our enlisted veterans, went into the military straight out of high school, so we're also becoming a one-stop shop for educational resources."

About 525,000 veterans currently call Tennessee home.

More information is online at tn.gov/veteran.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN