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May 11th, 2012
05:12 PM ET

Opinion: How to employ veterans when they come home

Editor’s Note: Ted Daywalt is president and CEO of VetJobs, a military job board. He served on active duty in the Navy as a line and intelligence officer and retired as a captain after 28 years. He later served in private industry as a plant manager and as an executive in the steel, electric utility, importing, chemical and recruiting industries. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of In America's documentary series on American voters.  J.R. Martinez narrates the documentary  re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on CNN.

By Ted Daywalt, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The employment challenges facing veterans today are vastly different from those facing the post-Vietnam era soldiers.

In the 1970s, when I served, veterans would not mention they had been in the military, much less Vietnam. Discrimination against these veterans was immense, and in 1974, Congress passed the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act to prohibit the discrimination and provide more opportunities.

Today, the perspective on hiring veterans has improved, but National Guard and Army Reserve veterans still face serious employment challenges when they return home.

Now, we are more reliant than ever on the National Guard and reserves to protect our country.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Documentaries • Economy • Veterans • What we think
May 9th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Voters in America: Vets Wanted? Educator and Parent Guide

Editors Note: This Educator and Parent Guide is provided for teachers and parents to use as a catalyst for discussion and learning if they choose to watch “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” with their students.  This is the first part of CNN In America's documentary series on American voters.  J.R. Martinez narrates the documentary re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

(CNN) – Teachers and Parents: Watch with your students or record "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" when it airs on CNN on Sunday, May 13 at 8 p.m. ET and PT, or Saturday, May 19 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and PT. By recording the documentaries, you agree that you will use the documentaries for educational viewing purposes for a one-year period only. No other rights of any kind or nature whatsoever are granted, including, without limitation, any rights to sell, publish, distribute, post online or distribute in any other medium or forum, or use for any commercial or promotional purpose.

Documentary Description: Multiple deployments interrupt lives and careers and can lead to health and financial challenges. Narrated by former U.S. Army infantryman and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez, "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" looks at the unique burdens for families of men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it follows the reintegration of members of the Georgia National Guard's 877th Engineer Company into civilian life. Deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010, half of these veterans faced unemployment when they returned to the U.S. The documentary also examines whether the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Bill passed in November 2011 is of any help as our nation's heroes make full transitions back to the lives they left to defend America, and it offers insights into how veterans' unemployment may impact their decisions as they head to the polls this November.

Read the full guide

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Filed under: Documentaries • Veterans • Who we are
April 25th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Latino soldier to fellow troops: 'Take the warrior mask off...get help'

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of CNN In America's documentary series on American voters. J.R. Martinez narrates the documentary re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Sonya Hamasaki, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - When Army Master Sergeant Mike Martinez arrived in Saudi Arabia for his first assignment 22 years ago, he knew his experience in the infantry would make him “real tough, tough like nails.” But little did he know back then just how much those words would resonate now, in his new role as a voice for the invisible wounds of war.

Martinez, 42, shared his story in the USO’s first Invisible Wounds public service announcement to address post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries - the masked wounds encountered by many of the 300,000 troops returning home. He’s on a mission to educate Latino troops, in particular, whom he says are likely to feel a cultural stigma surrounding mental health treatment.

“I tell my Hispanic brothers that are still serving, don’t let pride get in the way," Martinez said. "Pride’s going to kill you. Take that warrior mask off and if you need to, get help. Get it in the beginning stages, and not later.”

Even veterans seeking help might not be getting a quick response from those who would care for them, according to an report released by the U.S. Office of Veterans Affairs this week. While the number of former service members seeking mental health care increased by 39% from 2005 to 2010, according to the Veterans Health Administration, the agency hasn't been meetings its goals to evaluate them within 24 hours and begin treatment within two weeks.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Documentaries • Health • How we live • Latino in America • Veterans
April 20th, 2012
05:14 PM ET

J.R. Martinez: We must find jobs for U.S. veterans

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters in America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. J.R. Martinez narrates the documentary re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

J.R. Martinez knows what it takes to survive after war, and what comes after - he found success acting, and as a "Dancing with the Stars" champion. But many vets face hardships, especially when it comes to employment.

“When they come home is really when the real battle begins.” Martinez said.

Martinez said the government has done a great job to help U.S vets, but there are still gaps that need to be filled.

“This is a good opportunity to educate America on what the gaps are and how we as everyday Americans can, and what we can do to contribute to closing this gap," he said.

April 11th, 2012
01:51 PM ET

Program helps vets open franchises

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters in America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Narrated by J.R. Martinez and re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

The unemployment rate among veterans is 5% higher than last year, but initiatives in hopes of changing that are giving vets an opportunity to own their businesses through the franchising industry.

As more U.S. military members return from overseas deployments, they're trying to decide what's next. Thousands are going to school on the GI Bill and others are looking for new careers.

Some vets are finding opportunities through VetFran, which has helped more than 2,100 vets  since the 1990s. Even some who lack business experience are opening franchises - and taking advantage of programs that reduce the cost to do so.

UPS, for example, waived the near $30,000 franchising fee for 10 veterans. The franchisees still have to finance their own ventures, but UPS is guiding them on how to maintain and operate businesses on their own.

March 29th, 2012
04:43 PM ET

'Vets Wanted?' documentary touches on veteran unemployment

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Narrated by J.R. Martinez. Re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

By David Matthews, CNN

(CNN) – The Georgia National Guard's 877th Engineering Company spent most of 2011 building bridges and clearing roads in Afghanistan. But when these soldiers returned home before Christmas, they came back to uncertainty: about half of the 877th Company was unemployed. Unlike active duty soldiers who come home to a base and a military paycheck, National Guard soldiers are expected to come back to their pre-deployment jobs. But for many National Guard soldiers, these jobs don't exist.

From Georgia and Florida, to Ohio and Alabama, National Guard units are coming back with many of their soldiers facing unemployment.  The former chief for Employment and Education Outreach for the Guard believes it is a problem the military is just now coming to grips with.  National Guard soldiers report difficulty in finding work in a tough economic climate and believe that their service puts them at a disadvantage.

Our CNN In America documentary follows the soldiers of the 877th on their journey back to their civilian lives.  After the soldiers' reunions with their families, we chronicle their search for jobs and their reconnection with loved ones.  We will be there with them as they attend job fairs and interviews, and examine the challenges facing our veterans coming home. FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Disabilities • Discrimination • Documentaries • Economy • Veterans
Military families face financial hurdles
Priscilla Schrubb is married to a Marine and has relocated five times.
March 27th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Military families face financial hurdles

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Narrated by J.R. Martinez. Airing May 13th 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Unemployment, debt and a troubled housing market are plaguing families across the country, but for those in the armed forces, there is an even bigger burden to bear.

Often young and required to move frequently, many military families struggle to maintain a two-income household, find affordable childcare and save for the future.

Service members and their families have a tougher time because the military isn't a high-paying job and most "are very young and without formal financial literacy training," said Robert Joshua, executive vice president at Navy Federal Credit Union, which serves military and civilian personnel and their families.

The average junior enlisted member with less than four years' experience earns just over $40,000 a year, including housing and food allowances, according to the Defense Department. The salary goes up, however, for service members with families. Those who are married with two kids earn $52,000.

Read the full story on CNNMoney

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Filed under: Documentaries • Economy • Veterans • Who we are
Silicon Valley's new conversation on diversity
CNN's Soledad O'Brien (left) hosted an SXSW panel discussion on the aftermath of CNN's Black in America 4 documentary.
March 20th, 2012
04:39 PM ET

Silicon Valley's new conversation on diversity

By Laurie Segall, CNNMoneyTech

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Silicon Valley's startup field is dominated by young, mostly white men from a handful of elite universities. NewMe, an accelerator program for minority-led ventures, aims to shake up the scene.

Three months after CNN's Black in America 4 aired, chronicling the stories of NewMe's first class, several of the documentary's participants reconvened at last week's South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering in Austin. In panel discussions and informal chats, they tackled the question: Has anything changed?

"I think the most important thing [the documentary] did is that it started a conversation that did not exist. That's huge," said Hank Williams, who used his time at NewMe to work on Kloudco, a cloud-based data management service.

"I don't know how much we impacted Silicon Valley, but it's starting a larger discussion around the nation," said Gokit founder Hajj Flemings. "There are a lot of people looking to make career shifts."

Read the full story on CNNMoney

February 28th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

BIA update: Tomorrow's leaders

CNN's documentary, "Black in America 2: Tomorrow's Leaders," followed men and women making a difference in the black community.  When we met Mia Jackson, a young woman with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, she said she wanted to further her career. She applied to Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an MBA prep program dedicated to preparing minorities for executive positions in business.

Since then, Mia has graduated from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management with a dual degree: an MBA and a Masters in Engineering Management.  But she says it was all at a great cost.  Hear why in this Black in America update.

February 24th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

BIA update: Project Brotherhood

CNN's Black in America 2: 'Today’s Pioneers' featured a program called Project Brotherhood, ran by six African American doctors dedicated to helping other black men stay healthy.

The program provides a free clinic and since the documentary aired in 2009 the number of patients and volunteers has doubled, but with the change in the economy came major cuts for the program.

Watch to learn the fate of Project Brotherhood.

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