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U.S. representatives of WWII veterans associations pay their respects as they listen to the U.S. national anthem prior to laying wreaths on the memorial in the Colleville American military cemetery on the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. Photo: Francois Mori / AP

Veteran job seekers are more likely than non-veterans to be underemployed, despite the fact that the majority of employers report that veterans perform "better than" or "much better than" non-veterans, according to a survey released this week by ZipRecruiter and the Call of Duty Endowment. Meanwhile, there's a severe shortage of skilled U.S. workers needed for open technology jobs, particularly in the cybersecurity field.

Bridging the gap: Mark McLaughlin, the CEO of cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks and a veteran himself, tells Axios his team is developing a skills training program that would connect companies across the country to build an online "university" with courses in cybersecurity skills for veterans. It aims to tackle this "really hard gap," where employers "want to see you win, but they don't know what to do with you," McLaughlin said.

Many veterans have completed years of service for the country, but don't necessarily have the exact technical skills or years of experience for specific job openings, he said.

McLaughlin's cybersecurity training program for veterans aims to leverage what companies around the country are already doing to train vets for a dual purpose: train veterans and get them jobs while meeting companies' existing needs for cybersecurity experts.

  • The goal: Coordinate and streamline companies' pre-existing efforts to train veterans, setting up a sponsorship program for getting veterans into an online "university" with a "crash course program" in cybersecurity skills. Veterans would then leave the program with certificates and expertise under their belts — as well as a guarantee that they'll be interviewed for jobs.
  • The good news: Veterans are most attractive to employers when they have specific skills in tech and management, according to LinkedIn's Veterans Insights Report released Friday. The market is shifting "away from those with specific degrees and toward those with specific skills," and tech and management skills are "rising to the top," the report says. This could incentivize veterans and companies alike to partake in training initiatives like McLaughlin's.
  • The challenge: To succeed, getting veterans into tech-focused job pipelines "can't be demographically concentrated" in certain cities and it "can't be concentrated by gender [or] race," McLaughlin said, emphasizing it has to span zip codes across the nation.
  • Drumming up support: McLaughlin says he's already spoken with several veterans groups and governors in states with high percentages of veteran residents about connecting with the veteran community and planning logistics for the project. McLaughlin admitted "there's a lot of work to do here but I can feel it building momentum."
  • Meanwhile, veteran unemployment rates are decreasing, per LinkedIn, and "demand for hiring veterans on LinkedIn continues to increase, rising by 3.8% since this time last year."

Go deeper

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley announces run for re-election

Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced on Friday that he's running for re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: The GOP is looking to regain control of both chambers of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Several Republicans had urged the 88-year-old senator to run to avoid another retirement after five incumbent senators said they wouldn't seek re-election.

China deems all cryptocurrency transactions illegal

A person walking past China's central bank in Beijing in August 2007. Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

China's central bank declared on Friday that all cryptocurrencies are illegal, banning crypto-related transactions and cryptocurrency mining, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: China's government is now following through with its goal of cracking down on unofficial virtual currencies, which it has said are a financial, social and national security risk and a contributor to global warming.

Biden's big bet backfires

Two key dealmakers — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — leave a luncheon in the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.