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For wounded US veterans, job prospects brighter

This generation of troops is getting unprecedented help.

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For Sgt. Logan Jubeck, sunbaked Camp Williams has nowhere near the excitement of his forward observation base near Kirkuk, Iraq.

Here, at this National Guard base outside Salt Lake City, he's waiting for the Army to decide if he's medically fit to remain in the service. While he's waiting, he's getting briefed on job prospects in the civilian world.

At least four contractors want to interview the Idaho guardsman for jobs. Most are offering "top dollar." And at least two universities are likely to give Sergeant Jubeck, who was an engineering student before serving in Iraq, incentives to return to school.

"That's the scoop," says Rob Brazell of Return to Work Inc., a nonprofit organization that has started working with disabled veterans such as Jubeck.

Return to Work is part of an unprecedented effort to help wounded troops make the transition to the workplace.

Places such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center are holding job fairs. Specialists in the jobs market, such as, are pitching in. Vietnam veterans, most of whom had no help like this, are trying to ensure that this generation of injured soldiers gets better treatment. And there is a dedicated group of people, such as Mr. Brazell, who are intent on helping other people.

"Whereas transition services in the 1970s were fairly limited, today we recognize that we have a lifetime commitment beyond [Veteran Affairs] healthcare and education benefits to broader assistance in job training and placement that contribute significantly to improved opportunities when veterans return to civilian life," says William Offutt, director of the HireVetsFirst campaign at the US Department of Labor. "This time, we're going to get this right."

As of last November, the survival rate for those injured in combat was 90 percent, the highest ever, reports But 6 percent of wounded US troops have lost a limb, double the rate of past wars, according to the website, which quoted Maj. Gen. George Weightman, then commander of the Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. (He is now commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed.)


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