Recently USAA and Hiring Our Heroes announced the best areas for young veterans to further their education and find better employment opportunities. Pittsburgh earned the top spot for transitioning into civilian careers and having more educational opportunities according to the study.

The mission behind the study is to help over 1.5 million service members who are expected to leave the military find meaningful jobs and have an easier time transitioning. “This list identifies the top places for veterans to use their discipline and determination to succeed in civilian workplaces,” said Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and executive director of Hiring Our Heroes.

Here are the top 10 places for young veterans looking for better opportunities:

  1. Pittsburgh
  2. Austin, Texas
  3. Oklahoma City
  4. San Antonio
  5. St. Louis
  6.  Columbus, Ohio
  7.  State College, Pa.
  8.  Cincinnati
  9. College Station, Texas
  10.  Minneapolis

“Fifty-three percent of veterans reported their transition from military service as ‘difficult’ in a recent joint survey with Blue Star Families,” said James Schmeling, managing director at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. “Research like this can play a role in helping veterans plan for that transition and think about how to make the most of their benefits and skills.”

USAA and Hiring Our Heroes collaborated with Sperling’s BestPlaces and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University to provide data for the list. They pulled their efforts to determine measurable variables for 379 major U.S. metro areas. Each variable was weighted and the metro areas were ranked based on total points of the variables.

  • G.I. Bill Enrollment
  • Presence of Colleges/Universities
  • U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges for Veterans”
  • Certification/License Transfers
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Population Growth
  • Military Skills Jobs
  • Job Growth
  • Health Resources

Metro areas with more than one percent higher than the national average, violent crime in the top two percent, and median cost of living more than 10 percent above national average were excluded from the list. More information about this year’s criteria can be found at