Army Unemployment Pay Lowest in 13 Years
The Army closed fiscal 2016 paying $172.8 million in unemployment compensation, the lowest level for the service in 13 years, according to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
It marked the first time the amount has dipped below $200 million since fiscal 2003, when it came in at $152 million. The 2016 figure is also far below the peak of $515 million, which was paid in fiscal 2011.
Army officials credit several initiatives preparing soldiers to establish civilian careers for the declining unemployment compensation.
For example, the Army has been putting significant effort into remodeling the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program. SFL-TAP teaches skills such as resume writing, preparing for job interviews, and translating military skills into real-world values. All soldiers with at least 180 days of continuous active-duty service are required to complete the program.
“We are excited to see that more Army veterans are finding careers after they transition off of active-duty service, and fewer are having to file for unemployment compensation,” said retired Col. Walter Herd, director of SFL-TAP, which is based at Fort Knox, Ky.
The Army also has partnered with the Labor and Veterans Affairs departments, the Small Business Administration and various veterans’ groups to offer other employment-related courses to transitioning soldiers.