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USAA and Military.com Announce Anchorage as Best Place for Veterans in Alaska


New state-by-state ranking highlights Anchorage as one of the best places for post-9/11 veterans transitioning to civilian life

SAN ANTONIO — Anchorage was named by USAA and Military.com as the best place in Alaska for veterans to transition from service member to civilian. Earning high marks for attributes such as access to higher education and economic stability, Anchorage landed on the new “Best Places for Veterans” state-by-state list. The list identifies the top U.S. metro areas in each state that offer America’s most recent veterans more opportunities to find a job or go to college, while providing a higher quality of life in an affordable location.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2011 there are approximately 2.4 million post-9/11 veterans – half of which are between the ages 25-34. The Department of Veterans Affairs projects more than one million additional military members will leave the military between 2011 and 2016. Younger veterans face challenges, such as an overall unemployment rate three percentage points higher than their civilian counterparts as of 2011, but also have opportunities such as help with funding a college degree as a result of the post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

“Today’s veterans are battling a highly competitive job market and need to proactively plan for life after the military,” said Scott Halliwell, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM with USAA. “This study allows us to help recent and soon-to-be veterans identify preferred locations throughout the U.S. where they can launch a civilian career and use the G.I. Bill to further their education.”

“The millions of young veterans who have already entered the workforce, and the many more who will join them in the coming years, have the opportunity to use the discipline and determination they’ve acquired in the Armed Forces to make a significant impact in their workplaces and communities,” added retired Cmdr. Ward Carroll, editor of Military.com. “Best Places for Veterans was commissioned to help equip this remarkable group with tools for a successful transition.”

USAA, a leading financial services provider focused on serving the military and their families, and Military.com, the largest military and veteran membership organization, commissioned Sperling’s BestPlaces to develop the list. Researchers reviewed variables for 379 major U.S. metropolitan areas, including:

  • Employment opportunities and sectors that align with military skills sets such as defense, engineering, medical services and aviation, as well as the overall jobs climate based on unemployment rate and recent job growth.
  • Presence of colleges/universities, as well as quality of local primary schools.
  • General quality of life and pocketbook issues such as affordability, crime rate, taxes and recreation opportunities.

Each of the variables was weighted based on what recent and soon-to-be veterans said was important to them. The No. 1 place in each state is the metro area that scored the highest overall based on its total points for all variables among the metro areas in that state. In most states, metro areas with the following attributes were excluded from the list: unemployment rate more than 1 percent above the national average, cost of living greater than the national average, and total crime rate more than 25 percent above the national average.1

USAA and Military.com also commissioned an overall Best Places list of the top 10 metro areas in the country to provide service members with more choices. Veterans and soon-to-be veterans also have the opportunity to create a personalized list with the new Best Places for Veterans calculator by identifying which criteria is most important in their military-to-civilian transition. To see the entire list of Best Places and access the Best Places for Veterans calculator, visit usaa.com/bestplaces.

The list does not represent any endorsement, expressed or implied, by the Department of Defense or any other United States government agency.

About USAA
USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.3 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their eligible family members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com.

About Military.com
Military.com is the nation’s largest military and veteran online news and membership organization serving active duty personnel, reservists, guard members, retirees, veterans, family members, defense workers and those considering military careers. Military.com enables Americans with military affinity to access their benefits, advance their careers, enjoy military discounts, and stay connected for life. Military.com is a business unit of Monster Worldwide Inc. More information is available at military.com.

1. The No. 1 metro area in Alaska, Del., Hawaii, N.H., N.J., Nev., Okla., R.I., S.C., Vt., Wash. and Washington, D.C., is the metro area that scored the highest overall based on its total points for all variables among the metro areas in that state. No metro areas in these 11 states and the District of Columbia were excluded for any other attributes. The No. 1 metro area in Calif., Conn., and Mass. is the metro area that scored the highest overall based on its total points for all variables among the metro areas in that state, with metro areas with a cost of living greater than 40 percent the national average excluded. More information about the list criteria can be found at usaa.com/bestplaces.

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