LOCAL NEWS

BYU, West Point study finds Black vets earn more than white vets after service

Nov 11, 2022, 7:17 PM | Updated: Nov 14, 2022, 9:01 pm

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — Researchers at BYU and West Point are taking a look at how military service impacts income afterward.

They’ve found Black veterans are benefiting more than their white counterparts.

They took a closer look at whether serving in the military was a good or bad lifelong experience.

There were some good positive findings but there’s always the concern that more could be done to help our veterans.

Take a look at our nation’s conflicts and you can see that Black history is American history. It’s part of the idea behind a powerful display at the Brigham City Museum.

“My father was a World War Two veteran. Every fight for freedom, we were there,” said Betty Sawyer. “We served with honor and dignity and we’re not always treated as others with that same dignity and honor, getting the lowest of jobs in the military, getting the lowest pay in the military.”

Sawyer helped put the Utah Black Veterans Exhibit together as part of her role on the board of the national Juneteenth observance foundation.

In reading the stories here you can see how the way black people in the military are seen has improved.

“Often times the big picture hasn’t been shared,” Sawyer said. “The story  hasn’t been tole to the extent it should be.”

A recent study done by West Point and BYU finds that after serving in the Army Black veterans on average are earning between $5,000 and $15,000 more a year than their white counterparts.

Sawyer believes that’s thanks in large part to the skills learned while enlisted.

“And it’s good to find out that the benefits have impacted positively for some of those folk that went in. We know that’s not everybody’s story,” she said.

Researchers said Black veterans in general are finding better jobs.

Meantime, Sawyer said it’s important to remember that many of our Black veterans still struggle to access the services they were promised.

“Looking at that disparity of health needs and health services and benefits for black veterans is something that we have to continue to work on,” she added.

She said all of us can work together to better help our veterans.

The Black Veterans of Utah exhibit will remain on display at the Brigham City Museum through January 28.

There are plans to have it shown at museums around the state afterward.

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BYU, West Point study finds Black vets earn more than white vets after service