This week, our “Americans at Work” photo essay features photographs of military veterans returning to civilian lives in New York, made by photographer Emilie Richardson: “Like many Americans, veterans have experienced obstacles in finding employment since the economic decline in the 2000’s. With the passage of the post-9/11 GI Bill in 2001, which can cover a veteran’s entire educational costs, more and more veterans now have access to higher education. Many are pursuing degrees in medicine, and have access to work study programs in the field created by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Throughout this essay, I document several returning veterans at the start of their civilian careers. Two of the veterans were injured during service, and have struggled to get appropriate medical and employment assistance.
I followed one veteran throughout her recovery process, which has been the equivalent of a full-time position for her. She has struggled with misdiagnoses of a traumatic brain injury, and has been through several surgeries for a foot injury caused by her military service. Throughout these struggles she has continued to pursue job opportunities, and has earned a Masters in Journalism from Columbia University.
Another veteran was forced out of service after an injury and pursued a marketing degree. After graduation, he was unable to find appropriate employment for his level of education and training. He then began his own company developing online games. His experiences have had a lasting impact on him, and his goal is to help future returning veterans who are struggling with similar issues by supporting organizations that offer employment to those affected.