NILES – Veterans day is a time to say thanks to those men and women who served, but many of them are struggling here at home with medical problems and a high unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for young veterans in particular is very high. In Indiana and Michigan, it's three times higher than the normal unemployment rate.
For the men and women serving overseas, getting home is their number one priority, but when the fight is finished, many are finding when they get home the battle is on the job front.
On Veterans Day, protesters took to the streets in Niles to take up veterans issues.
"I'd consider my resume a pretty nice resume, and to not even get a call back for menial work, it hurt," said Matthew Rosenhager, the organizer of the Occupy Niles movement.
Rosenhager is also a veteran. He served in the Air Force, but when his time was finished, he couldn't find a job.
"When I got out, I was retired because of an injury, I tried to get a job because I have a wife and three kids to support and because of my injuries, no one ever gave me a call back," Rosenhagen said.
The unemployment rate nationwide is 9 percent. But veterans who have served since 9/11 have a jobless rate of 11.5 percent. In Michigan and Indiana those numbers are much higher.
According to a report by the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, unemployment for young veterans in Indiana is around 24 percent, in Michigan it's nearly 30 percent.
The standard unemployment rate is 8.9 percent in Indiana and 11.1 percent in Michigan.
Rosenhager went back to school when he couldn't find a job. But as he prepares to graduate and start looking for a job again, he's fighting for those vets who are still unemployed.
"It's nice that some of these corporations, they want to give away a free meal today and a free car wash and that's fine," he said, "We want jobs, we're well trained and [corporations] should give us a chance instead of giving us a free meal on one day."
On top of the high unemployment for young veterans, those who work may also be living in poverty. According to a report by the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, 21.3 percent of veterans between 18 and 24 live in poverty.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans are 50 percent more likely to become homeless. It also reports nearly one-third of all homeless people are veterans.