According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for U.S. military veterans fell to 3.6 percent in 2015 — its lowest level in seven years.
For the men and women who have entered life after service the lower unemployment numbers reflect both a nationwide effort to specifically hire veterans as well as veterans taking matters into their own hands — through entrepreneurship.
With an amazing work ethic, strong leadership, the ability to be effective team members and work well under pressure, the skill set of military veterans can be transferred into business ownership. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the franchise industry.
It’s no secret that franchises have had a huge impact in shrinking the veteran unemployment gap. In fact, the International Franchise Association (IFA) estimates that one in seven franchise businesses are owned and operated by veterans of the U.S. military, and more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the U.S. directly provide jobs for 815,000 Americans.
Making the transition back to civilian life after serving can be extremely stressful, just ask Jerry Flanagan, a U.S. military veteran and founder of the franchise JDog Junk Removal & Hauling. Jerry has made it JDog’s sole mission to sell its franchises exclusively to military veterans and their family members, enabling them to realize the American dream of business ownership.
“Veterans making the transition from military to civilian life face steep competition and are challenged to re-enter the workplace with a uniquely valuable skill set,” said Flanagan. “JDog allows veterans to join a new mission that capitalizes on their strengths in a work environment that matches their strong work ethic.”
Another franchise, Marco’s Pizza, is doing its part to help vets get back on track. Marco’s Pizza has partnered with USACares, a non-profit organization that provides financial and job assistance to post-9/11 active duty U.S. military service personnel, veterans and their families. Through the USA Cares program, financial assistance is provided to make the dream of becoming a business owner a reality for veterans.
JDog and Marco’s Pizza are just two examples of business opportunities for veterans post-service. Another valuable resource for veterans is the IFA’s VetFran program,founded in 1991 by Don Dwyer Sr. as a “thank you” to veterans returning from the first Gulf War. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the IFA re-launched a campaign to assist U.S. veterans and their families during the difficult time. Through VetFran, 660 franchise brands offer financial discounts and training for aspiring veteran franchisees and veterans seeking employment.
With all of these organizations making it their goal of getting America’s veterans back to work, we should continue to see a reduction in the veteran unemployment rate.