FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - Military downsizing is pushing more service men and women into the civilian workforce, and now officials from the Department of Labor are visiting Fort Benning to help in those transition efforts.
"If you've slept outside, if you've worked on a tank, you've had to command troops in a very difficult situation, you can basically handle anything in the civilian world," said Christopher Lu, Deputy Secretary of Labor.
However, many veterans may go from sleeping on Baghdad sands to American street corners, as more former soldiers face unemployment.
Research from the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates nearly 50,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, with the number of young homeless vets on the rise.
Poverty and lack of support networks put 1.4 million other veterans at risk of being on the streets, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
These are facts that make it even more vital to get military members successful jobs once they leave the service.
"Separating service members don't start thinking about this until they're right about to leave military service," Lu said.
Last year, more than 1.2 two million veterans embarked on a new mission of finding a job.
The Department of Labor offers specialized help in job placement for vets looking for work, and for those looking to make the transition into civilian life.
DOL representatives explain that vets have a lot of skills to offer potential employers outside of the military, skills that should keep them in successful jobs.
"You know discipline, you know what it means to show up on time, you know what it means to follow instructions, you know what it means to question authority when necessary, you know how to lead people, you know how to manage change, you know how to deal with difficult, changing, unpredictable situations- those intangible skills are valuable anywhere, and then when you layer on top of that the skills that you would learn in the military," Lu said.