CHATTANOOGA, Tn. — A decade ago the veterans unemployment rate was much higher than the rate for non-veterans, but thanks to private employers and government programs that has changed drastically.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor the unemployment rate for all veterans was 4.4% in 2021.
That rate for non-veterans was 5.3 %.
Tonight in the Price of Freedom we tell you about a program with a goal to give more veterans an opportunity to build a career.
Joshua Ewing is the training coordinator at Local 43 plumbers and steamfitters.
He says this is a great field for military members when their service is over.
"A great transition into a civilian life," Joshua Ewing said.
They gave us a demonstration of some of the skills you would learn during training here and the program is college accredited.
"What that means is any veteran coming out of the military service can use their G.I. Bill post 9-11 bill and receive additional funding while going through our apprenticeship program," Ewing said.
Also, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting industry has created the Veterans in Piping Program.
"What that is, is a sixteen week compressed course for anybody that is completing their service, and it puts them as a direct entry into one of over three-hundred apprenticeship programs across the country," Ewing said. "So, here in Chattanooga we receive four to six of them annually and they come in, place them right into work, and right in training."
Matthew Johnson is the business agent for Local 43 and an Army veteran.
"To be honest this program in itself is the closest thing that I've had to the camaraderie that I had whenever I was in the service," Johnson said.
"We do a mentorship with more senior level apprentices with our new entries from the military so they have someone to reach out to when they have issues," Ewing said.
The program give veterans an opportunity to do work that is always in demand.
"It also places them in a good paying career with good benefits right off the bat," Ewing said.