Female veterans seeing higher unemployment rates - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Female veterans seeing higher unemployment rates

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The move from the battlefield to the workforce isn't always a smooth transition.  In fact, a new report shows it may be an increasingly tougher task for female veterans. The report indicates not only are many having troubles finding a job, in some cases, they don't even have a roof over their head.

"I had done pretty much everything I wanted to do--extensive travel all over the world and enjoyed it," said Navy veteran, Pamela Skaggs.

Pamela Skaggs says she spent nearly ten years in the Navy from 1984 to 1993.

"It was a good career," said Skaggs. 

After that, she says she worked multiple jobs in computer-oriented fields and even construction.  In 2009, she says she was laid off.  

"Nobody likes to lay-off but it had to be done," said Skaggs.

Skaggs says she's been out of work since. 

"Arkansas is heavy in agriculture and in manufacturing.  Jonesboro is excellent for manufacturing, unfortunately that's not where my experience is," said Skaggs.

Skaggs feels confident with all the different experiences she had in the Navy she could do a variety of different jobs.  She adds without the specific degrees or training, at times, she feels overlooked.  

"This semester I'm going to start back in school to make myself marketable in Arkansas," said Skaggs. 

"One of the things we do, particularly with female combat veterans, is we'll interview them about their job skills while they were in service," said Beck PRIDE Center Director, Susan Tonymon.

A recently released reports show some veterans, specifically some female veterans, may be  having a tougher time getting back into the workforce after military service, but resources are available.

"We help them translate those military skills into the civilian workforce," said Tonymon.

Tonymon adds they help veterans, male and female, pin point services that are available including financial aid for school, even networking circles to interact with other veterans and professionals.  

"We help them take their military experience and make it a positive," said Tonymon.

For veteran Pamela Skaggs, she says she has a home and while it's challenging at times,  is able to make ends meet.

She uses her family as support and says giving up isn't an option 

"The military teaches you that as well.   They train you to be achievers.   So..that's what keeps me going," said Skaggs.

The founder of the Women Veterans Network says women veterans' unemployment rates are typically higher, and a slow economy and a competitive workforce are adding to the challenges.   

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