CINCINNATI - The transition from combat boots to civilian shoes is easier in Cincinnati than nearly all American cities, according to a new study commissioned by USAA and Military.com .
The "Best Places for Veterans" list identifies U.S. metro areas that offer America's most recent veterans the best opportunities to find a job, go to college and transition to civilian life.
Cincinnati placed eighth and was one of three Ohio cities to make the nationwide list. Cleveland was voted the second best city for veterans, while Columbus came in at No. 9.
Pittsburgh ranked as the top place in the nation for veterans.
9 News spoke to Andrew Even, a Cincinnati State Student who spent four years on active duty in the Marines one of which was spent in Iraq.
"I was training the Iraqi army on patrolling, marksmanship and first aid techniques," Even said.
Even is now pursuing a career as a computer programmer and is one semester away from graduating with an associate degree.
"The whole military lifestyle helps me keep a good GPA. Scheduling, being on time for class, showing up for class is a big portion of it. If you can do those few basic things you can succeed in college," Even said.
Lending credence to the study Cincinnati State is a pilot school for the "Get Skills to Work" initiative which, in partnership with firms like G.E., offers a training session to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate, which is recognized by employers across the country.
The study took into account several economic and educational factors as well as cost of living considerations.
"The outcome," Scott Halliwell, a certified financial planner with USAA said, "was that we have cities on the top 10 list that skewed more heavily towards those that had good military skill related job opportunities."
Ward Carroll, editor of Military.com, cited Proctor and Gamble as a company that knows how to leverage the military skills of employees who are veterans.
"P&G is not a defense firm but that's an organization that knows what attributes people develop in the military and then leverages them in a kind of win, win fashion," Carroll said.
Overall veteran unemployment is below the national average but post-9/11 vets have unemployment hovering at 10 percent.
The study is designed to help change that and offer a vets a guide to where they might consider living.
"Today's veterans are battling a highly competitive job market and need to proactively plan for life after the military," Halliwell said.
Here is the full list of best places for veterans:
6. Warren, Mich.
7. Ann Arbor, Mich.
9. Columbus, Ohio
10. St. Louis