Among Kentucky's National Guardsmen, the unemployment rate for those not on active duty is around 14-25 percent, significantly higher than the state and national average. That worries Lt. Col. John Bates, who commands the 2/138th Field Artillery unit in Lexington. Bates says Guardsmen need civilian jobs to ensure stable communities.
"And if my soldiers aren't employed, then they're going to be looking for employment, which might drive them out of the region or even out of the state. And therefore I would lose that trained individual or the Commonwealth loses a trained soldier."
More than 60 of Bates' unemployed or under-employed soldiers are at a three-day workshop this week where they'll learn how to write a good resume and frame their military training for a civilian job application.
Dozens more guardsmen are on a waiting list for the workshop. Organizers plan to schedule other employment events across the state in coming months.