With the job market still looking sluggish, many minorities now have to look at alternative sources of employment. And even with the War on Terror winding down, many minorities are looking at careers in the military.
Neven Gibbs, a writer and entertainer from Washington, is a former soldier who joined the military back in the '70s when the nation was going through an economic slump. However, he says the economic conditions are worse now than when he joined.
"It's worse now than then. Nixon was president and Reaganomics hadn't occurred yet," said Gibbs, a Native American, who joined the military in 1974 straight out of high school. Gibbs said that he credited limited job opportunities for steering him into a career in the military.
Gibbs, a Cherokee, said he was in the military for a total of 22 years, 13 years active in the Army, two years inactive, and seven years in the National Guard.
He said his military career offered several benefits. "Transferable job skills and credits, which you have to explain to civilian employers so they understand them," he said. "For example, active duty Military Academy credits in Military Science are equal to Collegiate Business Science. However, the civilian establishment does not always accept or understand these qualified credits and degrees.”
There are also several other benefits from serving in the military. "Lifetime healthcare from questionably licensed (if any) providers. Retirement, educational, and vocational opportunities, if you survive long enough (after serving.) Congress has to pay and provide what it promised. Civilian employment after military is less stressful," said Gibbs. "Ex-military make better teachers than civilian educators. One becomes a member of an exclusive group that provides individual and group support. "
Gibbs advises young people considering the military to make sure they research their options.
"Whatever you are told or promised, make sure it is written on the forms before signing. Read everything. Take advantage of every opportunity offered," he said. "Get everything that hurts, breaks, infected, or damaged included in health records. Expect to lose teeth."
Gibbs said young people must understand that a military career has potential downsides.
"You could get killed, maimed, bent, and twisted, raped and/or molested, and generally made fun of. Especially the made fun of," he said.