According to reports dating back to around the time “The War on Terror” first began nearly 13 years ago in 2001, more than one million soldiers have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness, half of those with multiple illnesses.
It was also reported that veterans have been committing suicide at an alarming rate since the war began, at nearly 22 self-inflicted deaths occurring each day. That is more suicide-related deaths than from those lost in combat, according to an ABC report.
While the longest war in the history of American is still underway, with no end in visible sight, the fight expands to address these growing problems on the home front.
This week, the Veterans Benefits Administration issued over $30 billion in tuition and education programs to nearly 1 million veterans, service members and families, as well as a number of related colleges and trade schools; a good sign that veterans haven’t gone completely forgotten.
At a time when the city's unemployment rate is at a staggering 8.7 percent, nearly one percent higher than the state and national averages, 10 percent of those are unemployed veterans.
Now more than ever we need to find a way to keep these vets off the streets and at the same time fill the job market with hard-working, disciplined and dedicated employers.
The city took some initial steps with a new expansion of the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, a partnership with SUNY Levin Institute and The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, to provide interactive business seminars for veteran entrepreneurs.
It has been reported that the program has helped a little over one thousand service men and women find jobs since implementation in 2012, however more needs to be done to put them back to work.
At the upcoming “veterans summit” in Albany next month, there will be a proposed tax benefit program for businesses who higher unemployed veterans. A proposal like this is sure to reduce the growing veteran unemployment rate.
Governor Andrew Cuomo should pass and expand the proposal and take a “no man left behind” approach for those who gave their lives for this country.