In the seven years I spent in the U.S. Marine Corps, I met countless remarkable men and women who day in and day out committed themselves to serving our country and helping keep its citizens safe. Many of my fellow Marines stayed in the service and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them will be soon coming home.
Over the next several months, tens of thousands of men and women will return from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. Opportunities in the private sector are needed to provide these individuals a smooth transition into civilian life. Veteran unemployment rates are 11.7% and 22% for veterans under 25 years. These are staggering and undeserved numbers among the men and women who have honorably served to help keep our nation free.
Since 2003, The UPS Store has participated in the International Franchise Association (IFA) VetFran Initiative, a voluntary effort of IFA member-companies that is designed to encourage franchise ownership by offering financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans. In that time, approximately 150 The UPS Store locations have opened under this program, providing more than $700,000 in discounts to these men and women.
Now it’s time to do more …
Yesterday, Stuart Mathis, president of MBE, franchisor of The UPS Store network joined First Lady Michelle Obama, the IFA and other business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the announcement of “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” an initiative of the franchising sector to recruit and/or hire as many as 75,000 military veterans and their family members by the end of 2014, as well as 5,000 wounded veterans.
To support “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” The UPS Store announced an increased financial incentive for up to 10 qualified U.S. military veterans to open their own locations – valued at approximately $300,000. Those who are interested can visit the Veteran Discounts section of theupsstore.com.
We hope that we can help make a small difference for these returning men and women. And, we hope that if you have a business, whether large or small, you will consider hiring a veteran.
Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all who have served.