by Chet Bodin~

Minnesota’s soldiers have maintained steady progress at reintegrating into the workforce, but some data suggests that our most recent veterans – young men and women who served instead of going straight to college – are having more trouble with this than others.

Most employers are very familiar with traditional career paths, but have yet to develop a comprehensive approach to vetting military training and experience. Monster Worldwide’s Veteran Talent Index shows that 20% of employers surveyed had major concerns about post-9/11 vets and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and how that might affect young veterans on the job.


Vets Unemployment 2013


However, new hiring practices are beginning to emerge. The education of employers on the advantages of military experience to civilian industries has allowed for discussions to take place.  Applicability to a position or company, rather than other general veteran issues, comes into focus.

file6631299981022 (1)Last year, 28% of the veterans surveyed by global market research firm Edelman Berland said they “feel that being a veteran makes it more difficult to find employment.” Additionally, 16% said that “I find that I have to defend myself against psychological or emotional trauma accusations.”

Thankfully, awareness of PTSD and other conditions afflicting soldiers has increased dramatically during the post- 9/11 era.  Educating the public has been equally as important to reintegration, especially for employers.

Employer Initiatives

Genesis10, a consulting and talent management services firm, has established a Veterans Program from their office in St. Paul. In addition to employer workshops such as “Reverse Boot Camp,” and ‘”How to Hire a Veteran,” Genesis10 coordinates a mentorship program to give young veterans more insight to the employment challenges they may face.

Veteran circles in multiple Minnesota companies have created the Minnesota Patriots’ Network, established to address the cultural gap in veteran workforce development. Founding member Jeff Marone of General Mills, a U.S. Army veteran, is leading the call to action. “The vision of the Patriots’ Network is to establish a premier resource with public and private partners who collectively assist Service Members and Veterans in the pre-employment phase,” says Marone.

Minnesota led the nation in developing an accessible and sustainable Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program to treat thousands of guardsmen and reserves who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Reintegration, advising and planning, and post-deployment initiatives are just one of the many parts that fall under the umbrella of the Yellow Ribbon Campaign.  As their motto goes, the network is committed “to bring Servicemembers all the way home.”

Together with Minnesota companies and public support, these networks aim to further develop and advocate the many soft skills veterans have to offer, and put young veterans into positions where they can thrive for Minnesota companies.


Chet Bodin is a Regional Analyst for DEED’s Labor Market Information Office in Northwest Minnesota. He has also been an enlisted member of the Minnesota Army National Guard since 2009. He currently serves as a Civil Affairs NCO for the 34th Infantry “Red Bulls” Division.

For more Information on Minnesota Patriots’ Network, or to join the effort, contact Jeff Marone at

Photo Credit: TM Wong.  Used with permission.

5 thoughts on “'I'm Home. Now What?' MN Vets Overcome Employment Obstacles

  1. When i was employed at Inver Hills Community College, I was glad to hear about the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campaign ( that designated the campus as a Yellow Ribbon School. Reintegration events are held there, actively helping veterans when they come home with job seeking, counseling and educational next steps. I think it’s very important to support proactive programs like these.


  2. It is sad that companies still view mental health issues like PTSD as an obstacle to hiring a Veterans. I’m happy to read there are initiatives out there that are educating and overcoming these perceived stigmas and are giving Veterans a fair shake.


  3. I’m glad that Minnesota is leading the way in helping veterans get back into a working life. What would also be helpful, is if bigger companies could even offer free counseling or other support to vets who they would like to hire. Being able to take them in and get them working while also providing them with counseling would be a great way to get them in and help them out if they need it.


  4. I am proud that Minnesota is working on developing programs to increase support for Veterns who are trying to find work. This post brings to light some of the issues that individuals face after returning from serving our country and it is so important for people to be aware of those issues. Awareness is the first step to creating change. I think that it is extremely valuable that companies are being educated on how to help veterns find their place in the work force.


  5. It’s so sad that our veterans feel that their status as veterans puts them at a disadvantage when seeking out employment once they return home. It reminds me of how important it is that we provide them with the resources they need (mental health services, job placement programs) to help them reintegrate into American life.


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