In August 2011, President Obama launched the “Joining Forces” initiative, which called for businesses to train and hire 100,000 veterans or military spouses by 2013. The following year, the goal was met and celebrated with an added objective of gaining employment and training for an additional 250,0.....
“The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans fell by 2.2 percent in 2012,” said Josh Merin, senior manager
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of research and strategic initiatives for the International Franchise Association who works closely with VetFran, a strategic initiative of IFA that strives to be the voice of veterans in franchising. “Providing employment opportunities for veterans is something that brings the nation together across the political spectrum. Not only is this critical for the economic and social stability of veterans and their families, but it’s an important component of the U.S. economic recovery.”
In her April address about Joining Forces, the first lady pointed to companies such as Walmart, which, according to CNN, projects to hire more than 100,000 veterans within the next five years and UPS, a company CNN said has a workforce made up of 7.5 percent veterans. While efforts from large American corporations bodes well for the first lady and Dr. Biden’s initiative, VetFran takes the idea one step further by encouraging veterans to use their skills to take their fate into their own hands and become franchise owners.
“Many veterans are mission-driven and display an intense will to serve others,” Merin said. “Thanks to efforts like Joining Forces and VetFran, more of the public is starting to understand these qualities.”
According to IFA, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchises today. The association also notes that 1 million soldiers will exit the military by 2015 and that IFA’s more than 1,200 franchisor members and 700 supplier members will recruit and hire 80,000 veterans and military spouses plus 5,000 wounded veterans by the end of 2014. Although the statistics surrounding veteran challenges including PTSD, suicide, homelessness and unemployment can be harrowing, these positive numbers help prove that the Obama Administration and the American people are committed to assisting those who have served in getting their lives back on track once they return to U.S. soil.
“American businesses, and therefore the economy, move forwardg from the leadership, training, discipline and worldly perspectives of veterans,” Merin said. “Supporting veterans is both the nation’s responsibility and a great opportunity for the private sector from which the economy and society will benefit.”
For more on the Joining Forces initiative, check out the video below, courtesy of the White House.
Photo above from left: First Lady Michelle Obama, Steve Caldeira of IFA, Dr. Jill Biden and Kevin Blanchard of IFA. Photo courtesy of the International Franchise Association.