Monday, June 10, 2013

Veterans and Entrepreneurs: Returning Soldiers Create New Job Opportunities

The United States’ economic downturn has affected millions of families over the past few years. Many Americans cannot find the jobs that they need, and companies are having a hard time finding the right people to work for them. Nowhere is this problem more obvious than with members of the National Guard. Their unemployment rate is around 20%, far higher than the national average. And, there are more than 60,000 highly qualified but unemployed National Guard members looking for jobs right now.
Robert Rummels signs 1 of his 15 new customers at a trade show

But, if you ask any National Guard member or reservist today if they have given up hope in finding the right job for them, what would they say?
Shobana Chandra of Bloomberg News gives us their answer: “Always ready, always there,” and prepared to face any challenge.
In her recent article for Bloomberg News Online, “Soldiers Turn Entrepreneurs as One Million Exit Military,” Chandra focuses on how well the skills reservists and National Guard members learn in the military translate into the professional sector. Despite the frustrations of unemployment, the soldiers she interviewed return to their “always ready” mantra and adapt to the hurdles of the business world.
Chandra highlights the story of Kevin Safley, a National Guard member who served twice in Iraq and came back from his tour to find that  his job at a crane company in Portland had disappeared. Even with no prospects of employment, Safley knew he could use the skills he learned in the military for his benefit. So, after telling himself over and over, “if I don’t give up, things will work out,” Safley opened his own auto care franchise in Vancouver this last year.
Safley’s example is not an unique one for our returning troops. Chandra reports that veterans today own about 2.4 million businesses and employ 5.8 million workers. Mary Thompson, a veteran who now serves as president of Waco-based Mr. Rooster LLC, attributes this success to the multitude of “skills that translate over” from the military to the business world.
Robert Rummels, a former Army Ranger and another figure in Chandra's story, agrees. When he started his own pest-control franchise after returning from a tour of duty this year, he used his military training in a new setting. He says that when he goes to work, “it feels like I’m on patrol. This time, I have a new enemy. Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.”
But, with over one million troops expected to return home from duty in the next year, not every soldier will be able to start his or her own business. Our returning heroes will need all of the help they can to show companies they are the right people for the job, and that they can be the solution for the skilled worker shortage in the U.S. today.
Our mission at American Jobs for American Heroes is to do just that. We connect skilled veterans with employers who have unfilled jobs, and make sure our heroes have an easy transition from military to professional life through job training and career counseling.
If you are interested in supporting our nation's heroes in their mission to find the right jobs to support themselves and their families, or if you are a company interested in hiring veterans to fill your job needs, please take a look at the American Jobs for American Heroes website today.

To read Shobhana Chandra's full article at Bloomberg News, click here.

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