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Pa. awards $800K in grant money to help veterans find jobs

The Wolf administration has awarded $800,000 in state grant funding to four entities across the state that help connect veterans to job opportunities and employment.

The money is part of the Veterans Employment Program, which specifically targets Pennsylvania counties with high unemployment rates for veterans, the administration said in a Wednesday statement.

“Every one of Pennsylvania’s veterans made significant sacrifices in their service to our nation,” Wolf said in a statement. “Because of that, we owe them every opportunity we can provide to ease their transition to a civilian career. This funding will enable community organizations to assist our veterans in finding meaningful and family-sustaining jobs.”

Employers also stand to benefit from the funding, state Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier added.

Companies across the state “need skilled workers to help their businesses grow and thrive, and as the economy continues to bounce back from the pandemic, veterans will play a vital role in filling the gaps in our labor force,” Berrier said.

“The Veterans Employment Program will provide employment opportunities for our most honorable citizens and offer more comprehensive services to address barriers to employment and improve their employment outcomes,” she said.

Research suggests that veterans, especially younger veterans, have a harder time finding employment than Americans who have not served in the military. That’s why it’s important for policymakers to smooth that path, analysts suggest.

Between 2000 and 2011, younger veterans were an average of 3.4 percentage points more likely to be unemployed than similarly situated younger non-veterans, according to RAND Corporation data. That gap closed, however, with age and time since military separation, the research found. Overall veteran unemployment could be driven by such factors as poor health, selection, employer discrimination, skills mismatch, or job search skills, the research suggested.

At nearly 800,000 veterans, Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veterans population in the nation, state Adjutant Gen. Mark Schindler, who also serves as head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs said.

“It is important that we do everything we can to ensure their successful transition from military to civilian life,” Schindler said. “Workforce development opportunities offered through the Veterans Employment Program aid veterans in finding meaningful employment.”

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