For military veterans returning to home to the U.S. from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s not always easy finding a civilian job: the unemployment rate among young veterans is more than 12% and about four percentage points higher than the national average for all workers.
Veteren unemployment is an underreported problem, but one company thinks it’s found the answer to tackling the issue head-on: viral videos.
Training Camp, an IT training and certification firm, is hosting a viral video contest for unemployed veterans, replete with cash prizes for the winners. The idea? Veterans make short videos that can be “funny, silly, heartwarming or witty” centered around a common theme: showing employers why it’s a good idea to hire veterans.
“People aren’t aware this is an issue,” said Michael McNelis, educational services director at Training Camp. “We’re looking for passionate, emotional messages [from veterans]. The cash prize isn’t the end of this, our goal is that every person who sees the videos realizes this is an issue. It’s like, ‘Look at this picture and tell me why you don’t support this.'”
The contest began on July 4 and runs through September. McNelis’s team has already received 300 valid submissions, but others had to be thrown aside because they didn’t broadcast the intended message.
Training Camp tried connecting with official veteran support groups such as the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, but received a cold reception.
“They believe they have programs in place that are already working, but being on the front line of the issue I can already see [those programs] aren’t working,” said McNelis.
An initial round of videos will be put up for public voting on Sept. 14. Then, a five-judge panel of Training Camp associates will pick winners that will divvy up a prize pool with $10,000. For each video submitted, Training Camp is donating $25 to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Check out the Valor Video contest here. Can viral videos actually help the problem of veteran unemployment? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/08/06/valor-video/