OFF THE WIRE
Kendra Smith, who served for 14 years in the Navy, is one of many veterans who have a hard time finding a job since she left the service in 2009. (Source: CNN)
GAITHERSBURG, MD (CNN) - Unemployment among post-9/11 veterans is higher than the national average - particularly among women - and it could get worse as thousands of troops return from Iraq by the end of 2011.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans in Sept. 2011 was at 11.7 percent, more than 2 percent higher than the national average of 9.1 percent.
"While civilians have been going to school or going for interviews, these folks have been getting shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Paul Rieck, the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "Sometimes they're not trained in how to convert their resumes from military lingo into the civilian space and they need tactical training like interview training."
For female veterans, the unemployment rate was higher at 14.7 percent.
"A lot of people in the country don't understand or appreciate that women are in combat," Rieck said. "That's part of our modern reality of the military, and they too need the same skills and training that their male counterparts do."
The Obama Administration is trying to address the high jobless rate among veterans by offering companies that hire them tax credits of up to $9,600 in his new jobs bill. The bill and other legislation that would help veterans have so far been stalled in Congress.
The Administration has also launched a plan to allow former medics to get nursing school credit for their service. The president also announced an effort to urge health centers to hire 8,000 veterans over the next three years and grants to help train vets to be physicians' assistance.