Dubbed Army UCX, the program emphasizes social media channels to
connect veterans with IDES employment services and the state's
help-wanted job board,
Illinoisjoblink.com. Recently discharged
veterans qualify for unemployment insurance, and the federally
designated UCX acronym indicates unemployment compensation
"Illinois has a good story to tell regarding veterans and work.
The veteran unemployment rate in Illinois is below the civilian rate
and lower than the national rate," said IDES Director Jay Rowell
said. "However, the unemployment rate among young Gulf War II
veterans is unacceptably high across our nation. That is why we must
find new ways to convey to veterans that it is OK to ask for help.
Army UCX guides veterans to our door so we can personalize a service
plan that meets the needs of that specific veteran and their
IDES is charged with delivering re-employment services to
veterans and helped 17,000 veterans find meaningful employment last
year. The veteran unemployment rate in Illinois is lower than the
national rate. In 2012, the state rate was 6.8 percent and the
national rate was 7.0 percent. Nationwide, however, the unemployment
rate for Gulf War II veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 is
significantly higher, at 20.4 percent. A comparable state rate is
"Illinois' selection for this pilot program is encouraging -- as
well as indicative of the innovative support that Gov. Quinn's
administration has consistently provided to our veterans," said
Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans'
Affairs. "IDES' work to target its outreach and employment toward
newly returning veterans is tremendously important and can make a
real difference to veterans struggling to transition to civilian
There are anecdotal reasons why young Gulf II veterans have
greater difficulty obtaining civilian employment. Chief among them
is the lack of civilian work and work-search support structure
before enlisting. Not having a successful experience looking for
work prior to their military service creates barriers not found with
other job candidates. The inability to translate military experience
to a civilian position widens the employment gap. Finally, once a
veteran returns to the United States, the more time taken before
launching a civilian work search, the lesser the likelihood that
employment will be obtained.
Illinois' $700,000, two-year program will test the emerging
theory that using social media to more quickly and frequently engage
veterans will lead to shorter readjustment times and fewer weeks
collecting unemployment insurance. Central to this theory is that
these young veterans do not readily embrace the fraternal
organizations of prior military generations, such as the posts
affiliated with the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars. The
inherent support system natural to such organizations also provided
a proven employment network. While young veterans are not inclined
to use fraternal services, they are likely to engage in social media
platforms because they did so prior to deployment.
[to top of second column]
Veterans can access personalized UCX service through
Illinoisjoblink.com. The state's hiring board features more than
120,000 help-wanted ads. Job seekers can build multiple resumes to
emphasize different skills and experiences. Business owners can use
keyword-matching technology to search resumes and find the best
candidate. Illinoisjoblink.com is free at the website and at
Illinois was chosen because it was among the first states to
propose a comprehensive outreach strategy built around social media.
Although social media channels have been key components of private
sector campaigns, the tool remains relatively new to the military's
hierarchal structure, which benefits greatly from tradition and
personal communication and whose leaders were not exposed to the
technology when they entered the service.
Army UCX is in line with other Illinois and IDES efforts,
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, or ESGR, in
2012 named IDES the first workforce agency in the country to sign a
statement of support reaffirming the critical role that National
Guard and Reserve soldiers serve in securing our nation's freedom.
The ESGR is part of the nation's Department of Defense.
The American Legion named Illinois' Bloomington office as
the best provider of employment services to veterans in 2012. The
award was presented in August 2013 at the American Legion's 95th
national convention in Houston, Texas. IDES was the only agency
nationwide to receive this honor.
The hiring veterans tax credit provides a hiring business
up to a $5,000 tax credit for each unemployed veteran of Iraq and
Afghanistan. It also honors Gold Star families by making them
eligible for the same property tax relief available in some
communities to the families of fallen firefighters and police
Illinoisjoblink.com to pre-screen
attendees. The process enabled employers to hire 150 veterans during
an event earlier this year.
Veteran hiring events
Department of Employment Security
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]