Returning troops, and businesses can benefit greatly by hiring veterans
Tens of thousands of veterans are coming home from the Middle East, looking for jobs and support. I’m proud to say that the franchise industry is delivering some of the help they need by hiring veterans — aggressively recruiting them for jobs within franchise systems and as franchise owners.
More than 70,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses operate in the United States, employing nearly 850,000 Americans, according to the IFA. Since 2011, when the organization launched its veteran recruitment effort Operation Enduring Opportunity, more than 64,000 veterans have started careers in franchising, with more than 4,300 becoming business owners.
The efforts of the IFA and other business leaders are badly needed. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans of the second Gulf War and Afghanistan is 10%, significantly higher than the overall jobless rate of 7.2%.
These are men and women who are highly trained, disciplined, fast learners and quick thinkers. They have learned leadership skills, and they know the value of teamwork and camaraderie. These are incredibly valuable men and women who have a great deal to offer the private sector now that their time of service has come to an end.
How to find veterans to hire
If you’d like to hire a veteran but aren’t sure where to look for good candidates, here’s one way to find them: Go to www.servicelocator.org, enter your ZIP code and hit “go.” You’ll find a list of nearby One-Stop Career Centers, which have veterans representatives on staff who can help connect you with veterans seeking employment. You may need to ask to speak to either the Local Veterans Employment Representative or the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program specialist.
Folks, this kind of outreach means the world to people returning home. After serving as a Marine in Vietnam, I watched as my generation of service members returned to a country that alternated between ignoring their service or actively sneering at it. The sacrifices made in combat were compounded by the lack of care at home, which left veterans alone to deal with depression and anxiety. Our veterans should never be ignored — not after the sacrifices they’ve made, the difficulty they’ve endured and the losses they have suffered.
Let’s give our heroes the welcome home they deserve. Hiring as many as we can is a great way to say “thank you” and will benefit your business for years to come.
Resources for veterans
To any veterans who may have found their way to my site, I encourage you to consider entrepreneurship as a career option. All the same skills and attributes that make you an excellent employee would also make you an excellent franchise owner. Franchises work best with owners who are dedicated, who know the importance of following proven systems, who are detail-oriented, and who can lead. if you haven’t already visited VetFran.com, take a moment to explore the site. More than 500 franchise systems offer significant discounts to help veterans start a franchise business — and many low-cost franchises can be started for less than $50,000.
Beyond business, beyond jobs, I hope you will also find fellowship back home. Take advantage of the resources that are available to help you and your family. Wars can leave scars, and there is no shame in asking for help. Facebook has compiled a nice list of resources that are available to you.
This issue is personal for me. In your returning faces, I see echoes of the brothers who fought beside me, some who made it home and some who did not. For those who have paid the ultimate price to secure liberty, there are no words that can adequately express enough gratitude, no deeds that can repay the debt we owe. What we can do, however, is honor their memories by standing up to assist their returning brothers and sisters, as well as their families. We can repay them with a small measure of the devotion that they have already demonstrated.
God bless our troops, and welcome home.