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Unemployment Big Hurdle for Returning Veterans

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Joe Franzese of the Wounded Warrior Project talks about challenges for returning veterans. (Photo/Mike Reilley)

By Jon Doe

Post-9/11 veterans have more resources available than past generations of veterans, but transitioning back into civilian life has been difficult because of delayed benefits and high unemployment, according to a Wounded Warrior Project employment specialist.

The overwhelming amount of soldiers returning from combat — 2.5 million throughout the past 13 years — has created a backlog in the Veterans Affairs system and delayed medical and education benefits. A 2013 report showed that 245,000 veterans wait a year or more for the VA assistance they are owed for their service.

“A lot of ways, being in the military is very easy because you know exactly what your focus is,” said Joe Franzese, a third-generation Marine who now works as an employment specialist for the Wounded Warrior Project. “Once you get into the swing of things, it’s a very easy way of life. You have one job and that’s it. But, coming back home and just not having that whole structure is just challenging itself.”

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