Want to start your Veteran-Owned Business?

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The SBA offers support for veterans as they enter the world of business ownership. Look for funding programs, training, and federal contracting opportunities.

Devoted exclusively to promoting veteran=owned business & entrepreneurship, the Office of Veterans Business Development facilitates the use of all SBA programs by veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, active-duty service members, transitioning service members, and their dependents or survivors.

SBA programs provide access to capital and preparation for small business opportunities. They can also connect veteran small business owners with federal procurement and commercial supply chains.

The Veterans Business Outreach Program is an OVBD initiative that oversees Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) across the country. This small business program features a number of success stories and offers business plan workshops, concept assessments, mentorship, and training for eligible veterans.

Find your nearest center

Funding for veteran-owned small businesses

You can use SBA tools like Lender Match to connect with lenders. In addition, the SBA makes special consideration for veterans through several programs.

 

Veteran entrepreneurship training programs

SBA programs feature customized curriculums, in-person classes, and online courses to give veterans the training to succeed. These programs teach the fundamentals of business ownership, SBA resources, and small business experts.

Continue on the sba.gov to read the complete article.

Calling All Veterans: Veteran Shark Tank Embarks on National Search for Winning Business Concept

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Shark Tank Veterans poster with image of judges for the competition

Veteran Shark Tank is going national. The annual program to find the best Veteran business concept is expanding to four cities before finalists convene in Philadelphia for the ultimate showdown.

Veteran entrepreneurs in Chicago, Atlanta, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea during regional qualifiers this summer. The selected Veterans will then go head-to-head during the finals in Philadelphia in December. This competition will ultimately award one winner $50,000 to pursue their dream business. The winner will also gain access to a vast Veteran network as they create or expand their business.

Jerry Flanagan, an Army Veteran and the co-founder and CEO of JDog Brands, a Veteran and military family owned franchise organization, has been selected as a VIP judge again this year. He was a Veteran Shark Tank contestant in 2014 and served as a mentor the following three years. Jerry will sit among other celebrity guest judges from the Veteran business community.

“I understand what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur because I lived it by building JDog Brands. I’ve also been a part of every aspect of the Veteran Shark Tank competition, so I know exactly what to look for in a winner,” said Flanagan. “As Veterans, we inherently have the drive, determination, and perseverance to put a plan into action and make it successful. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of capital to help a concept flourish, and this committee is searching for one Veteran to give a jump start.”

The Veteran Shark Tank was created in 2012 as a way to promote and assist Veterans who are starting or growing their own businesses. The event has grown over the years, with sponsors, candidates and attendees coming from all over the country for the finals held in Philadelphia.

Eligible Veterans must submit a business plan as part of the application. If applicants make it through the first round, they will present their plan to 3-5 judges at the regional qualifiers. The winner in each city will then present to a panel of VIP judges in front of a live audience in Philadelphia. The panel will include Flanagan; Lieutenant Colonel Justin Constantine, a Marine Corps Veteran and Veteran employment expert; Mark Rockefeller, an Air Force Veteran and co-founder and CEO of StreetShares; and Erica Webster, an Army Veteran and the founder and CEO of Dub Fitness.

To determine eligibility and requirements, and to apply for the regional qualifiers in Chicago (August 12), Atlanta (August 19), San Diego (August 26), and Washington, D.C. (September 8), please visit www.veteransharktank.com.

About JDog Brands

JDog Brands is the umbrella for an array of home and commercial services franchise organizations owned and operated by Veterans and Military family members. Its first two divisions are JDog Junk Removal & Hauling and JDog Carpet Cleaning. Over the next 10 years, JDog Brands will introduce 10 new service divisions and open 5,000 new franchises nationwide. For more information, visit jdogbrands.com.

Ford, ROUSH Unveil One-of-a-Kind ‘Old Crow’ Mustang GT to be Auctioned for EAA Aviation Programs at AirVenture 2019

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Ford and Roush Performance today unveil the 2019 “Old Crow” Mustang GT, a charity collaboration project which pays homage to World War II triple ace pilot Colonel Bud Anderson of the U.S. Army Air Force and the legendary P-51 Mustang fighter planes he flew in combat – nicknamed “Old Crow.”

This one-of-one Mustang will be auctioned at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2019 AirVenture air show on July 25 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. All proceeds will be donated to support EAA’s youth and adult aviation programs, many of which help prepare the next generation of America’s great pilots.

Built by Roush Performance, the “Old Crow” Mustang GT features a custom paint scheme and badging replicating Col. Anderson’s iconic P-51 Mustang fighter plane. A custom Roush grille with P-51 Mustang badge adorns the front, the words “Old Crow” are written on the hood and an authentic Eighth Air Force emblem badge adorns the decklid panel.

Performance in the “Old Crow” Mustang GT comes by way of a Ford and Roush Performance TVS R2650 supercharger, which boosts the 5.0-liter V8 engine to 710 horsepower and 610 lb.-ft. of torque. Other performance upgrades include a Roush Performance cold air induction system and X pipe, plus a custom active exhaust system from Ford Performance.

The “Old Crow” Mustang uses Ford’s MagneRide® damping system and puts power to the ground through a set of custom 20-inch lightweight Roush wheels wrapped in 275/35R Continental ExtremeContact sport tires.

Exterior enhancements include Roush rear fascia aerofoils, Ford Performance front racing spoiler, 2020 Mustang Shelby® GT500® rear spoiler, custom heat extractors on the hood and blue rainbow tinted exhaust tips that emulate the exhaust on the P-51 Mustang planes.

Inside the cabin, a fully custom, aircraft-inspired interior features unique military-themed green leather and canvas and red shifter nob and door handles. “P-51” is written on the passenger-side dashboard. The vehicle includes Sparco four-point harness as well as aluminum rear seat-delete.

“Heroes like Col. Bud Anderson have become true living legends in the 75 years since the Allied invasion of Normandy,” said Craig Metros, Ford design director. “Ford is proud to team up with Roush Performance to honor Col. Anderson and all of the brave servicemen and servicewomen who risked their lives during World War II, all while raising funds for the Experimental Aircraft Association, which helps make flying more accessible to America’s youth.”

Col. Anderson achieved more than 16 aerial victories in Europe during World War II. He flew 116 combat missions, including a six-hour mission on D-Day. He was never struck by enemy fire or forced to withdraw from an aerial engagement during his career. Col. Anderson’s service earned him more than 25 decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal.

Roush Enterprises founder and aviation enthusiast Jack Roush, Sr. honored Col. Anderson in 1994 by fully re-creating an authentic P-51 Mustang aircraft with the same badging and paint scheme as the Anderson’s “Old Crow” Mustang plane.

“It is truly special to have the opportunity to honor a great American hero and a truly great friend of mine such as Col. Bud Anderson,” said Roush, Sr.. “My father instilled in me a love of aviation and a deep respect for the brave pilots and airmen of World War II. Building this incredible ‘Old Crow’ Mustang, especially to support the next generation of America’s pilots, has been a very rewarding opportunity and one that we’re proud to share with the world.”

The “Old Crow” Mustang GT will be displayed during EAA’s AirVenture show from July 22-28. EAA AirVenture guests can get an up-close look before the car is auctioned on July 25 at the annual EAA AirVenture auction – The Gathering.

EAA AirVenture attracts more than 600,000 aviation enthusiasts to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin every year. Ford has supported EAA AirVenture for 21 years, building and donating 11 custom-designed vehicles to help raise more than $3.5 million to date.

These include the 2018 Eagle Squadron Mustang, 2016 “Ole Yeller” Mustang and 2015 Mustang Apollo Edition. Ford’s highest-selling vehicle auctioned at AirVenture is the 2008 Mustang AV8R, which sold for $500,000.

“Ford and Roush Performance are helping build the next generation of aviation through their support of EAA, AirVenture and The Gathering,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “This project not only will be a highlight of The Gathering; its impact will help EAA reach those who are pursuing their own dreams of flight.”

Bidding at “The Gathering” auction is open to all interested parties. Bids can be made in person or remotely online.

To learn more about the “Old Crow” Mustang GT and Roush Performance’s full line of vehicles and performance products, visit www.ROUSHperformance.com/. Further information on Ford Motor Company is available at www.Ford.com/. For bidding information on “Old Crow,” call 920.426.6573.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 196,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.Corporate.Ford.com.

About ROUSH Performance
ROUSH Performance was founded in 1995 by motorsports legend Jack Roush, the winningest name in racing.  Combining performance engineering with entrepreneurship, ROUSH began selling designs he had created for his own team to the wider world of motorsports. Based out of Plymouth Township, Michigan, ROUSH Performance, a division of Roush Enterprises, designs, engineers and manufactures completely assembled pre-titled vehicles, aftermarket performance parts, and superchargers for the global performance enthusiast market. For more on ROUSH please call 1.800.59.ROUSH or visit www.ROUSHperformance.com.

About EAA
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, embodies The Spirit of Aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 220,000 members and 900 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to EAA.org

Military Background the Foundation for Success

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Soldire stands in uniform next to rock called The Rock

It is no secret that companies benefit from a diverse mix of employees, including those who have served our country. We at ON Semiconductor are fortunate to employ many of our active and retired service men and women across the country.

One of these amazing individuals is retired Lieutenant Colonel Darren P. Hooks, based at our corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. Our diversity and inclusion initiative wanted to take some time to ask Lt. Col. Hooks about his time in the military and how it helped him transition to civilian life.

 

Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (D&I):

What branch of the military did you serve in and for how long?

Darren Hooks (DH): I was in the United States Air Force for over 24 years and retired as Lt. Col.

D&I: Why did you join?

DH: My love for structure, discipline and service motivated me to join. This originated from my passion and progression within the Boy Scouts of America.

D&I: Why did you choose the U.S. Air Force?

DH: The U.S. Air Force chose me. Starting with the Boy Scouts, I transitioned to Army Junior ROTC in high school where I eventually progressed to the highest rank of Battalion Commander. During enrollment in college, I also intended to continue participation in the Army ROTC. During freshman registration, outside on a hot and humid Alabama summer day, both Army and Air Force ROTC recruiters were set up side by side. Strategically, only the Air Force ROTC recruiters offered free hot dogs, sodas and chips. That is how the Air Force chose me.

D&I: Do you come from a military family?

DH: I am the first and only (within a family of 10) to join the U.S. military.

D&I: What was your job/assignment?

DH: Throughout my extensive military service, I served in multiple career fields that include civil engineering, communications, and command and control squadrons.

D&I: Where are some of the places you were deployed?

DH: Military deployments to Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Lt. Colonel Hooks poses in uniform in front of Helicopter

D&I: Once your service ended, what were your next steps? Did you work or go back to school?

DH: Following military retirement, I focused solely on my career with ON Semiconductor.

D&I: What led you to ON Semiconductor and what do you do now?

DH: Motorola recruited me right out of Tuskegee University. I started at Motorola Government Electronics Group before going to Intel Corporation for a period, before returning to ON Semiconductor (formerly Motorola) for a 16-year tenure as a project/program manager.

D&I: How did your military experience influence your career? Do you see connections between your time in the military and your time with ON Semiconductor?

DH: The military instilled within me structure, discipline and teamwork. I credit the military as the foundation of my success at ON Semiconductor. Our company and coworkers supported me tremendously during my multiple military deployments and made coming back to civilian life easier than it might have been otherwise.

D&I: Looking back on your military service, do you consider it to have had a positive impact on your life?

DH: Yes. The military has taught me immeasurable life lessons, and I would not change it for the world.

12 Tips for Effectively Managing Veterans in the Workplace

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manager sitting at a desk talking with an employee

By Preston Ingalls

As both a veteran and an employer of veterans for more than four decades, I have learned a great deal about managing those who served our nation.

For example, there are some techniques that employers should consider to aid success in hiring and sustaining this group. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 21 million men and women, or 9 percent of the civilian population age 18 and over, are veterans. That is roughly 1 in 10. Of course, this includes those who served in WWII, Korea and in nonconflict times.

As a veteran, finding decent employment is not a given just because he/she served his/her country. Among men age 25 to 34, Gulf War-era II veterans had a higher unemployment rate (7.5%) than did nonveterans (6.3%). In 2014, BLS reported that among women, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans (8.5%) was much higher than the rate for nonveterans (5.9%). Additionally, 35- to 44-year-old female veterans had a rate of 9 percent, which is almost double the rate of 4.8 percent for their nonveteran counterparts. According to Stars and Stripes newspaper, nearly two-thirds of new veterans say they faced a difficult transition to civilian life. The simple fact is that hiring veterans makes sense because of the qualities they bring to the table that can be hard to find in other candidates.

Why Veterans Struggle to Find Jobs

One reason that veterans continue to struggle to find jobs is that those without military experience have no reference point as to how military experience translates to a potential job need. Unfortunately, many veterans haven’t learned how to translate their experiences into comparable civilian applications. When employers are unclear about the conversion of skills and experiences, they may revert back to a more comfortable position of passing over a veteran prospect. Employers should keep an open mind and make it clear on job postings and websites what they are looking for. It may simply be an issue of skills translation. Another issue is that veterans are often stereotyped by many civilian employers. Several years ago, 46 percent of human resource professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cited posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health issues as major challenges and barriers in considering employees with military experience.

The reality is that PTSD is shared by about one-fifth of current veterans, and the highest rate for veterans of any era was Vietnam-era veterans, at 30 percent. Regardless of these low percentages, the most important fact is that PTSD is often treatable with medication. The SRHM study found that many HR employees believe that veterans, who are used to following orders, cannot take initiative and are too rigid. This is absolutely false. While it’s true that veterans are conditioned to take orders, they are also trained to think on their feet when orders are not always there. Considerable training is focused on this ability to make quick decisions after gathering as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

Another concern, especially for reservists and National Guardsmen, is redeployment or activation. Employers are concerned that redeployments will result in the loss of the time and training investment of veterans. While the risk does exist, since 38 percent of the military component includes these units, it is certainly one than can be accommodated. As a nation, we have an obligation to support our military. They weren’t asked if they believed in the mission or in the values they were defending. They stepped forth so others would not have to do so.

Managing Veterans

Now that they have performed their duties to their country and have returned, we should make every effort to thank them for their service. So what do you need to consider when managing them?

  1. Get rid of the stereotypes. Judge your vet on how he/she performs, not on some preconceived notion on how you think he/she is programmed to act.
  2. Clarify the mission. Veterans were taught to focus on the mission first. Therefore, take time to clarify what the mission is for your veteran employees. It may seem obvious to you, but to someone with a great respect for the value of mission clarification, spelling out what you are doing and why you are doing it.
  3. Show the procedures. Veterans are used to seeing standard operating procedures or protocols, and understand the value of a documented process. If you have one, share it with them. If you don’t, challenge them to help develop a job aid or checklist to ensure repetition. They will respect the sequence of tasks.
  4. Provide autonomy. Once they understand what is needed and how to do something. don’t micromanage them. Challenge them with some degree of authority and responsibility.
  5. Pair up with mentors. Often, military members were assigned to a more senior person for on-the-job training (OJT). They will respect a mentor arrangement for oversight and advice. This gives them a go-to person for when they have questions and ensures they are acclimating into the organization.
  6. Explain budgets. Many military members didn’t have individual contributions or budgetary limits, nor did they really face profit and loss responsibility. It is worth the time and effort to explain costs, revenues and margins so that they understand the sensitivity toward costs in the civilian professions.
  7. Encourage socialization. The vet will see far more value in social activities with fellow workers than most other employees because they have lived in close proximity quarters and socialized with the people they worked with before coming to your company. Finding ways to get them involved in social activities could have an impact on their morale and their sense of camaraderie. This may include after-work or weekend get-togethers or company parties.
  8. Set roles and expectations. A vet knows he/she is expected to perform certain tasks. Take the time to clarify what the tasks are and how to perform them well. Explain how he/she will be measured for performance and expected outcomes.
  9. Explain context and culture. Don’t assume your vet is accustomed to the nuances of office culture. Most veterans find it difficult to get used to the office environment, even if they worked in an office atmosphere in the military. Civilian culture, the sense of urgency and the mission priority are all different, and they need to learn to adapt.
  10. Engage them. They will rarely leave their company, but may leave their supervisor. Stay in touch with them. How are they doing? Are they getting what they need to be successful? Are they adapting to the culture? Are they being recognized for their accomplishments? Is anyone listening to their ideas and suggestions?
  11. Focus on leadership. In the military, it is obvious what the pecking order is and who reports to whom. The insignia is a display of that. In civilian life, that is not the case. Take the time to explain the hierarchy.
  12. Lead by example. Veterans will have a higher expectation for leadership than most civilians. Most military leaders have received considerable training and coaching. Therefore, they are often more effective than many of their civilian counterparts. Veterans are used to being led by strong, decisive leaders who care for their people and focus on their mission.

Leadership is a skill and a character quality that most veterans possess by nature of their participation in military service. They have led troops from the early days of their military lives. This aspect will put additional attention and pressure on the civilian leaders to worker harder at leading, instead of just being the boss.

Source: This article was originally published in Construction Business Owner magazine. Visit constructionbusinessowner.com to read more.

Looking for Your Civilian Career?

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Consider a career in hospitality or another of our top industry choices. From hotel managers to chefs to truck drivers, the hospitality and leisure industry adds more than $3.4 trillion to the global economy every year, according to siteminder.com. If you’d enjoy a job that could take you from being a server in a restaurant to the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company, a career in the hospitality and leisure industry might be perfect for you.

Restaurant General Manager

Average salary: $52,030

Employment is projected to grow 9% by 2026

Restaurant general managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure it is profitable.

Hotel Manager

Average salary: $51,800

Employment is projected to grow 4% by 2026

Hotel managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.

Flight Attendant

Average salary: $50,500

Employment is projected to grow 10% by 2026

Flight attendants provide routine services and respond to emergencies to ensure the safety and comfort of airline passengers while aboard planes.

Event Manager

Average salary: $48,290

Employment is projected to grow 11% by 2026

Event managers coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Executive Chef

Average salary: $45,950

Employment is projected to grow 10% by 2026

Executive chefs oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.

Not seeing your dream job on the list of hospitality jobs? Check out some of our other top industry picks for starting your civilian career.

Other Industry Stats:

Healthcare is expected to provide 2.4 million new jobs by 2026

About 7.7 million people hold jobs related to the trucking industry

Other Top Industries for Veterans

While the latest statistics show the leisure and hospitality industry generally has the highest monthly job openings rate, other professional and business services offer plenty of opportunities as well. These openings are measured by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), a monthly survey conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to help measure job vacancies.

Healthcare

Average salary: $64,770

Employment is projected to grow 18% by 2026

If a job in the medical field interests you, you’ll find many opportunities in healthcare. From assisted living facilities to the operating room, professionals in the healthcare field are in high demand. For example, with a master’s degree, you can become a genetic counselor and earn about $57,000 a year. Respiratory therapists earn about $55,000 a year and require an associate’s degree or higher. Demand for these healthcare specialists is expected to rise 19 percent by 2020.

Transportation

Average salary: $31,600

Employment is projected to grow 6% by 2026

The transportation industry industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation-related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation—air, rail, water, road, or pipeline.

Trucking

Average salary: $42,480

Employment is projected to grow 6% by 2026

Companies in trucking provide over-the-road transportation of cargo using trucks and tractor trailers. The industry is divided into general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking, depending on the equipment used, type of load carried, scheduling, terminal, and other networking services. General freight transportation establishments handle a wide variety of general commodities, usually palletized, and transported in a container or van trailer.

Source: bls.gov

Helping Others See the World

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Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins is the owner of Js Travel Consultants LLC in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the past 26 years, he has been learning, innovating and successfully filling the needs and goals of employers, team members and travel partners.

Beginning his travel career with World Connections Travel in Clearwater, Florida, and presently operating Js Travel Consultants in Las Vegas, Higgins says it’s been a great adventure. From the first interaction developing resort programs to generation leisure and meeting segments of all types, And he’s enjoyed his journey, every step of the way.

Higgins spoke to U.S. Veterans Magazine about establishing a business after his military service.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

As I progressed in my career, I had many different challenges and success. I made the decision to open my own business after working for my last two companies, from which I was laid off, followed by a reduction in force. At that point, I said “No more.” I didn’t want to go into work each day looking over my shoulder and wondering about my future there.

I have many friends in the Industry who said I should start my own business, that I would be good at it. It took a while to think about it, but I’m glad I did. Celebrating our fifth anniversary in business this year was one of the greatest achievements in my professional career.

What resources did you use when you were just starting up?

I took the public approach and started with SCORE Las Vegas, the Small Business Development Center and Diversify Nevada. The mentors and advice were awesome, cost was less and it was much easier.

What lessons did you take from the military that helped you in running your own business?

Attention to detail, focus, discipline and structure. Those qualities have allowed me to be more creative and know that I can accomplish my goals with fun and professionalism.

What advice would you give other veterans who want to open their own businesses?

It’s scary and a big commitment; but once you get past your initial fears and get rolling, it’s very satisfying and rewarding. When you get up in the morning and see the boss in the mirror, you smile! Don’t be afraid of the responsibilities that come with running your own business—this is what you were trained for.

Being a certified veteran owned small business can open a lot of doors for you. People recognize your honor, commitment, and integrity. Clients will work more with people they trust more often than those they don’t.

Higgins has 27 years of experience and a lot of common sense. Working in Las Vegas—one of the most competitive markets on the planet—“You need to combine not only who you know; but what you know,” he says. Visit jstravelconsultants.com for more information.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of $48.1 Million In Grants for Workforce Reintegration of Homeless Veterans

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Homeless Veteran on the street in the cold

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta today announced the awarding of 149 Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $48.1 million. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services for more than over 18,000 homeless veterans.

The Department will award funds on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training as well as job search and placement assistance.

This year’s HRVP awards provide 51 first-year grants totaling $16.9 million. Previous awardees will receive first- and second-option year grants totaling $31.2 million.

Grantees in the HVRP program will network and coordinate their efforts with other federal programs such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

More information on the Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at www.dol.gov/vets. For questions about these grant awards, please contact the Department’s Kia Mason at (202) 693-2606 and for more information about the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) please visit www.veterans.gov or follow on twitter @VETS_DOL.

For a full list of HVRP grant recipients click here.

After Careers With U.S. Armed Forces And Fema This Couple Opens Their Own Business

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McDuffie,Sharron, Rodney, Lee's Summit, MO

After Rodney and Sharron McDuffie retired from long and successful careers that included both the U.S. Armed Forces and the U.S. Government, the Raymore couple was looking for an attractive business opportunity to bolster their pension income.

So on April 15, Rodney, “61 years young,” and Sharron, “59 years younger,” as they note, officially opened for business as franchise owners with Floor Coverings International, whose representatives visit customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Lee’s Summit serves customers throughout greater Kansas City.

Sharron retired after 30 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she was a Technological Hazards Specialist assigned to several nuclear power plants throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Rodney retired from the U.S. Navy with 25 years as a Yeoman Administrator before joining the Department of Immigration, where he spent more than a decade before retiring as an Immigration Supervisor this past February. “We had started talking about what we would be doing in life with retirement approaching and looking forward to living the lifestyle we were comfortable in after more than 30 years working for the government,” Sharron said. “And we were not sure that once we retired on a government pension, if it would be enough. We are still pretty young and in good health, so we started looking for a business we could purchase that also offered plenty of flexibility, such as being able to work from home when we wanted to.”

In Floor Coverings International, the McDuffies found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

The McDuffies are also very excited about having the opportunity for their children to play a role in the business. Their oldest son, who just earned his master’s degree in Public Affairs, is “more excited than my husband and myself,” said Sharron, while their youngest son, who just graduated from high school, is looking forward to joining one of their flooring installation teams where he will gain the necessary experience to later become a Project Manager or Design Associate. A daughter, currently a middle school biology teacher, might join the business as an office manager or Design Associate while her husband is assisting with local marketing. “Since we have been up and running, the whole family is seeing what a great opportunity it is by joining or just participating in this family business,” Sharron said.

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Veterans’ retreat gets boost from Massachusetts company

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1A Auto owner hands over keys to car

The SUV that Rick Green drove his newborn babies home in will now be packed with heroes, he said in Maine last week, handing over the car keys to a Maine organization that provides a free getaway vacation for wounded veterans and their families.

His Westford-based automotive company, 1A Auto, donated a Chevrolet Equinox to the Travis Mills Foundation in rural Rome, Maine. The car will transport veterans and their families from the airport to the retreat, a key need for the nonprofit. (pictured: Mike Green, co-owner of 1A Auto, hands over the keys to Brandy Cain, the executive director of the Travis Mills Foundation in Rome, Maine.

“This helps bring us some much-needed relief,” Brandy Cain, executive director of the Travis Mills Foundation, said as Rick and his brother Mike pulled up in the 2008 teal SUV. “There’s a lot of good people who are really good to us.

“That looks awesome,” she added, speaking to the owners of 1A Auto. “I’m excited to drive your baby.”

The SUV is one of the first cars that 1A Auto bought at auction. The company then changed more than 100 car parts, as seen in their how-to videos online.

“Instead of selling back at auction, we wanted to start giving cars to organizations and veterans who really need them,” said Rick, whose father flew massive C-5 transport planes in the Air Force. “This is just the first one we’ll donate, a very special one.”

Rick, who ran for Congress in the 3rd District last year, recently asked his public relations manager John MacDonald if there was a veterans organization that could use a vehicle. MacDonald, a veteran and member of the Lowell-based Veterans Assisting Veterans, reached out to the Travis Mills Foundation — and the nonprofit confirmed they needed a car.

Before heading to Maine, 1A Auto brought the car to Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, where students helped inspect and tune up the SUV.

At the retreat — founded by an Army sergeant who lost portions of his arms and legs in Afghanistan — veterans and their families can get massages, canoe, kayak, participate in adaptive rope courses, read books from the Barbara Bush Foundation, eat lobster and more.

“They tell us this is better than Disneyland, the best family vacation they’ve ever had. We get that a lot,” Cain said. “Many injured veterans can’t go on a traditional vacation, but here, they can actually be an active part of the family because we have all the adaptive equipment.”

The nonprofit serves about 200 veterans and their families each year. They raised $3.5 million last year to cover all costs for the attendees.

To volunteer and donate to the Travis Mills Foundation, visit travismillsfoundation.org.

Successful Transition Begins with Backward Planning

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man thinking about his next career

By Mike Olivier

There are a few transitions in life that are inevitable; of that number there are fewer still where the day and time are certain. The transition from the military to civilian life is one of those transitions.

For those entering the civilian workforce, now is a good time. The military is heartily supported by all sectors of society, the economy is good, and unemployment is very low. That means getting a job is most likely not as difficult as it has been in the past. Nevertheless, there is no one standing outside the base gate handing out hundred dollars bills and employment contracts. Which means finding a good job is going to take work, and it is still going to require planning.

The good news is that the transition date for your departure from military life is certain, and you have advance notice. For some, this transition is seamless—they will go to work in the family business, a few will change their military uniform for civilian clothes and go back to work at the same desk, and some will go to college. Most will venture into the unknown and look for work. It doesn’t matter if you’re going on to school, to work, or going back to the family farm—getting there successfully is going to require a degree of planning.

One thing that most likely rubbed off during your time in the military is an acknowledgement of the value of planning. There is not much in the military that is not the result of planning, good or bad; and knowing when you are released from active duty provides you the opportunity to plan your next step. This ability to backward plan is going to provide you with options, and it is going to give you a better chance of succeeding in your transition. The military now offers a number of transition classes, and there are countless programs and agencies that will help point you in the right direction. Taking advantage of these resources is about the most common-sense action one can take. Even if they are incomplete in some respect, these resources can provide you with options and direction.

Networking is successful quote

Before you can plan, you will need to identify a goal: even if this is a leap into the unknown, there has to be somewhere to land. In this process, the question is often framed as “What do you want to do?” It is good to think about this holistically; that is, where do you want to live, what do the others in your life want, and, practically, what do you need? The answer to these and other related questions may align with one another, or, more likely, the answers will point you in opposite directions. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that this is a discovery process, and that answers to these questions may only eliminate options, but that’s a good thing. As you narrow your options, the remaining few provide direction to your transition goal.

In terms of backward planning, the milestones in the plan are going to be set by the objective. If the goal is to go to school to gain skills or to complete a degree, then identifying and getting accepted into the school is going to take time. The planning elements are gathering up transcripts, completing forms and applications, and meeting deadlines. Applying for a job also takes time as you determine what skills you need to be competitive, complete a resume, attend job fairs, and schedule meetings with recruiters. About 80 percent of people get a job through networking. If you have been in the military and out of the job market, out the network, you have to be proactive to establish your network. This is not a weekend task. You will need to establish your network by focusing on the industry. All industries have associations and events, and you create your industry-specific network by attending these events and meeting people. Volunteering at these events is another good way to get to know key people in the industry. If you want to be part of the successful 80 percent, you need to be known within the network.
Transition, for most, is stressful and challenging—it is a culture change, it is a risk. Improve your success and reduce risk and stress by backward planning. Knowing when you get out, where you want to end up, and the tasks to be completed are all elements of the plan. The most important point is don’t wait—start the plan and execute. When you get out, be where you want to be, not struggling to get there.