Activision CEO: American Companies Should Do More for Jobless Veterans

In an editorial on Huffington Post, Activision Blizzard CEO (and co-chairmen of the company's charity, The Call of Duty Endowment), says that American corporations are not doing enough to help veterans returning home from two wars only to find a job market that doesn't want to hire them. This new battle at home, as Kotick calls it, puts veterans in a higher bracket of unemployment than the national average.

Kotick cites data from the latest Employment Situation of Veterans' annual report – released earlier this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to that report, the unemployment rate for veterans who served after 9/11 was 12.1 percent in 2011. The jobless rate among all veterans is at 8.3 percent. The hardest hit within that group are young returning veterans (18-24), who have an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent. That's 17.6 percent higher than non-veteran males.

Kotick's point is that the private sector should do more to help these young soldiers find employment, and that not all problems have to be tackled solely by the public sector.

"While the Federal Government is trying its best, there is one school of thought that says it's not a public policy issue in the first place. It's private enterprise that can create jobs and fill them," writes Kotick. "It's business that can train people and make them productive tax-payers. And it's America Inc. that has the most to gain from tapping this extraordinary human resource. With so many new veterans — tested in battle, but novices in the job market — looking for work, it will take a broad-based effort by American business to meet the needs of these returning warriors. America Inc. must embrace the challenge."

He goes on to lay out four steps that every company in the United States can take to help unemployed veterans:

(1) Commit — Resolve as an enterprise to identify and take actions to change the employment landscape for veterans as a group.

(2) Affiliate — Find an organization or two to support, in particular those groups that provide veterans with the job placement, education and training needed to launch successful post-military lives.

(3) Act — When hiring, recruit veterans; if expansion isn't in the picture, direct corporate giving towards veterans groups that provide employment assistance. Consider undertaking training, internships, apprenticeships or mentoring programs aimed at vets.

(4) Network — Approach customers, vendors and other businesses and ask them to take part. Put vet hiring on the radar screen of local chambers of commerce and trade associations.

Kotick closes by saying that veterans have the skills that employers want and need – "discipline, motivation, leadership and the ability to work on a team."

"It's time for American business to replace the yellow ribbons with help wanted signs."

You can read the entire editorial on The Huffington Post. In it Kotick also details the fine work that the Call of Duty Endowment does on behalf of veterans. Whatever opinions people may have about Kotick, it's hard to cast aspersions on a charity that actually helps people.

Source: Huffington Post

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