America's returning war veterans deserve the opportunity to build lasting careers that offer fulfillment and advancement and not "low-wage, dead-end jobs" that don't "fully tap their skills," says former CIA Director David Petraeus, who also commanded U.S. forces In Afghanistan and Iraq.
Writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, Petraeus and former investment banker Sidney Goodfriend called today's veterans America's "New Greatest Generation"
and asserted that they need private sector jobs as they return from war that will help them develop into future leaders.
Companies, they argue must be willing to offer them job training, continuing education, and opportunities for advancement as their skills progress.
According to Petraeus and Goodfriend, more than two million men and women have transitioned from military service into civilian life since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They say a million more will soon join them as the U.S. forces drawdown from engagements in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas.
The two men write that more companies should be investing in veterans, including one-on-one mentoring programs modeled after those started by American Corporate Partners
, which was founded by Goodfriend and enlists companies to help veterans in their transition to the civilian workforce.
Petraeus now heads the Global Institute at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a New York investment firm, where he also directs the company's Vets@Work initiative and advises American Corporate Partners.
Some 3,000 veterans have already benefited from one-year mentoring programs, with many now bolstering their educational credentials, starting new businesses, or working at companies that offer them meaningful opportunities for advancement. Some 2,000 more veterans are presently being mentored, according to Petraeus and Goodfriend.
In their op-ed, the two write that some companies ignore their civic obligations to veterans altogether or hire them only for part-time dead-end jobs. That may be better than no jobs at all, but Petraeus and Goodfriend insist that "our returning veterans deserve more."
"America's servicemen and women are coming home, and we need to do more than simply thank them for their service. Let's invest in their future."
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