Veterans, and judgment, left behind

The economy seems to be finally creating jobs -- not a lot, but a good solid number. That's great for those that are getting jobs, but many are not. In fact, the percentage of longterm unemployed is increasing as is the average length of unemployment, the U.S. Labor Department reported last week.

All that good news isn't doing much, for example, for Luis Rosado, 31, of Stroudsburg, a Marine veteran who drove to Philadelphia to attend a job fair for veterans at Lincoln Financial Center on Thursday. Unemployment among veterans is higher than that of the population as a whole, and it is particularly tough on "Gulf War-era II" vets such as Rosado, people who have served in the military since September, 2001. (You can read my Philadelphia Inquirer story on the entire March employment report by clicking here .)

Rosado, a father of three who had stints in Iraq and Israel during his nine years in the military, has been looking for work since March 2010, when he left the Marines. It’s particularly frustrating for him because he wants work in security. He has had experience serving at the U.S. Embassy in Israel, learning his trade from the Israeli military, which is expert in security.
He said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency had been interested in him until they learned he didn't have a college degree. 

“My background isn’t good enough,” he said, shaking his head in disgust. Rosado said he has been losing jobs to college graduates who majored in law enforcement but have much less experience.

It’s a story that Matthew Murphy hears too often. Murphy, of King of Prussia, is chief operating officer for Recruit Military, an Ohio company that produced Thursday’s job fair and runs similar ones around the nation. “Companies are so hidebound by their requirements,” he said.

Vets aren't the only ones affected by this narrow corporate view. I saw this over and over again in my "Looking for Work" series -- people with lots of experience in a field, who have done all the work in the field over 20 years, but can't get a job doing the same thing they've always done because they learned the job on the job, not in college.

All human judgment has been turned over to computers which scan for keywords. If we humans don't exercise our judgment, our ability to do so will atrophy. And how will that help the economy, or mankind, for that matter?