There is a huge segment of the veteran community that is recognizing that entrepreneurship, small-business ownership, and self-employment are the right choices for them after leaving the service. The numbers speak to this trend. The Small Business Administration found that as of 2013 more than 2.4 million U.S. firms were owned by veterans, representing about 9% of all American companies. Those companies employ over 5.8 million people and account for over $210 billion in annual payroll.
Larry French/AP Images for National Chamber Foundation
“Military-Friendly” is a badge of honor you see thrown around a lot these days. From awards in magazines and newspapers, to marketing campaigns and job fairs, every company claims to be a military supporter. But what the heck does “military-friendly” really mean? Too often, it's a military discount, free appetizer, or promise to hire a wildly large number of veterans that gets companies recognized, instead of meaningful efforts to impact our community and hire and retain veteran talent.
Today’s veterans need to wake up to today’s manufacturing. The advanced manufacturing industry is estimating that because of a growing skills gap in the American workforce, some 600,000 jobs are being left unfilled for want of skilled workers. These are jobs in modern manufacturing that are high paying, often high tech, and not like your grandfather’s factory job — and employers are looking for veterans with the right skills to come knocking to fill them.
We often hear about the civil-military divide in the United State --- the deep chasm between those who have served and the rest of the nation. “Civilians just don’t understand our issues,” veterans say. “Veterans are all heroes!” civilians say, except when we’re victims of post-traumatic stress disorder who might snap during a fireworks show. Both sides are guilty of not understanding the context around the issues we each face.