Kirstie Ennis: Going “Full Throttle”

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Kirstie Ennis

By Brady Rhoades

Veteran Kirstie Ennis is one of the best Paralympian snowboarders in the world, and she’s also eying the seven great summits, recently climbing 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and 16,024-foot Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. On one leg.

As a Marine Corps sergeant. in Afghanistan—a helicopter door gunner—she wrecked a leg when the helicopter she was in crashed. That leg was amputated above the knee in 2015.

Her jaw was destroyed, she lost teeth, she injured discs in her spine, and she suffered facial lacerations, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD.

In the process of undergoing more than 40 surgeries, she came to a realization, acquiring a come-to-terms toughness and wisdom that would help motivate her to train as a snowboarder for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang County, in the Gangwon region of South Korea.

And to attempt to conquer the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

Countless times a day, she repeats one of her mantras: Stop worrying about what you lost. Look at what you’ve got. Or: What counts is what’s behind your rib cage and six inches between your ears.

She’s only 26, but her near-death experience offered an invaluable lesson on how precious time is.

“I go full throttle,” she said. “I come up with obnoxious goals and I go after them.”

It’s hard to believe that this fifth-gear athlete chasing Paralympian goals—and literally ascending historic heights for an above-the-knee-amputee mountain climber—spent months in hospital beds, nearly lifeless, filled with doubt, enveloped in depression. She wondered how she’d ever get around, go on. What would she do? Would she ever wear a dress again? Would anyone ever be attracted to her?

Idle time can be a wounded warrior’s worst enemy. Fathers can be their best friends.

“Dad said, ‘People in the Middle East couldn’t kill you, and now you’re going to collapse?'” she recalls. “The light went on and I said, ‘I made it home. Nobody owes me a damn thing.'”

Kirstie Ennis

Ennis had to mine for the toughness that is at her core, but her sense of humor? That comes effortlessly.

The same year her leg was amputated, she participated in the Walking with the Wounded event, in which wounded warriors trek 1,000 miles, ending at Buckingham Palace in London. Ennis left dozens of dog tags bearing the names of fallen comrades along the way. She also met Prince Harry, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, not one to shirk his duties, logged many miles during the event. At one point, he turned to Ennis and complained that his knee ached.

“I looked over and was like, ‘That’s (expletive) cute, really,’” Ennis said. Prince Harry cracked up.

Ennis and Prince Harry became fast friends. At the conclusion of her walk, she presented the final dog tag to him.

Their embrace was photographed and zoomed across the wires, making her a celebrity in a matter of minutes.

For her service to the country, Ennis has earned the NATO Medal, Combat Action Wings with three gold stars, National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan National Campaign Medal, two Letters of Appreciation, Certificate of Commendation, and a Certificate of Appreciation.

But who says you can’t be uber-tough and sexy?

ESPN called, asking her to grace the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s 2017 Body Issue, with rather risqué photos of her on the inside pages. They wanted her to climb Joshua Tree, sans clothes.

She had her doubts. But Ennis tends to run toward challenges, toward fear.

“I thought about it and considered the demographic and the people Kirstie Ennisthat would see it, and I realized that it wasn’t about me anymore,” she said. “Any man, woman, or child facing some sort of adversity has the potential to be inspired by these pictures of someone who has only been missing her leg for a few years go out and do things she wasn’t doing with two legs.”

Ennis appeared in the Body Issue, along with other great athletes, such as Javier Baez (baseball), A.J. Andrews (softball), and Malakai Fekitoa (rugby).

The daughter of two Marines, Ennis enlisted out of Florida when she was 17 years old, in 2008. She served for four years as a helicopter door gunner and airframes mechanic when disaster struck on June 23, 2012.

While on her second deployment in Afghanistan, Ennis’ CH-53D helicopter crashed in the Helmand Province.

Badly injured, she fought to remain on active duty but was medically retired in 2014. After her below-the-knee amputation on November 23, 2015, Ennis contracted the antibiotic-resistant MRSA and, because of a resulting infection, doctors were forced to remove her knee a month later.

“A below-the-knee amputation is night-and-day from above-the-knee,” she said. “You have to relearn everything. You’re basically a toddler.”

When she was told that surgeons would have to perform above-the-knee surgery, she said she “lost it.” She cried. She wailed.

“It’s one curveball after another,” she said.

She still struggles, emotionally. “I’d be lying if I said it’s easy,” she said.

Two years after her life-altering surgery, she’s adapted, and she’s developed coping skills, which is a critical component of recovery.

Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.

Set lofty goals.

Stay busy.

And true to her military training, be of service to others.

“When I’m having a bad day, I help someone who’s missing three limbs,” she said. “There’s this common misconception about what strength is. In the grand scheme of things, we’re in this together. You have to realize that you have to turn to somebody.”

Some of her best days involving helping other wounded warriors—whether it be through her notoriety as a star Paralympian or simply visiting a hospital.

“I know I’m on a platform,” she said. “I want to inspire people to reach their potential.”

She recalls a wounded warrior uttering eight words that she’ll never forget and that make her journey—as harrowing as it has been—worth it.

“You inspired me to walk another 10 steps,” the woman said.

 

Five Military Veterans Can Win Free Travel Agency Franchise

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Operation Vetrepreneur Winner and Navy Vet Christo Robinson

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (May 23, 2019) – Leading travel agency franchise Dream Vacations is recruiting military veterans to enlist in its eighth annual, award-winning “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General” contest.

The number one franchise opportunity for veterans will be awarding five veterans a free franchise as part of the nationwide contest that since 2012, has given away 37 franchises valued at nearly half-a-million dollars. This year’s contest begins Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 24, 2019, and lasts through Saturday, August 31, 2019.

“It is because of those in the armed forces that Americans are able to live the American Dream, and at Dream Vacations one small way we show our gratitude is through our annual Operation Vetrepreneur contest which makes it easy for veterans to pursue the dream of small business ownership,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of Dream Vacations. “While veterans account for 14 percent of franchisees nationwide, at Dream Vacations they make up more than 30 percent of our network and are among our most successful franchisees.”

The Dream Vacations franchise contest is open to former members of any of the five branches of the U.S. military (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) who are retired, off active duty and/or honorably discharged prior to the contest start date. To participate, candidates must complete an online entry form and an introductory phone interview with a franchise development specialist. Candidates will be required to submit a candidate profile, business plan, video and resume. Finalists will be invited to participate in follow-up phone interviews before winners are selected. The entry form and all contest details can be found at www.OperationVetrepreneur.com.

Five winners will be notified in September 2019. Each grand prize is valued at $12,700 and includes a complimentary Dream Vacations franchise with a waived $9,800 initial start-up fee and monthly service fees. The new recruits will report for active duty in November, when they participate in a weeklong franchise training boot camp at Dream Vacations’ state-of-the-art world headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. Winners will be reimbursed up to $500 for their travel and provided with complimentary accommodations during the training program. Once training is completed, winners will be armed with all the tools and knowledge they need to begin their dream business creating dream vacations.

“Winning the contest last year has changed my life by allowing me to meet more than 11,000 new people this year and talk with them about living their dreams,” said Christo Robinson, Navy veteran and 2018 Operation Vetrepreneur winner in Buford, Ga. “The support staff from Dream Vacations has been with me every step of the way and I am excited to say that we have already achieved our next promotion level in only five months after completing training. This is truly an opportunity I think every military veteran should take advantage of because Dream Vacations is committed to your success.”

All military veterans and Gold Star families who purchase a Dream Vacations travel agency business receive an enlistment package valued at no less than $5,000 and ongoing support. They can select one of four perks currently being offered — $2,000 travel training credit; receive up to $7,000 back based on initial fee through the Earn Back promotion; waived administrative fees valued at $1,350; or a Microsoft® Surface Pro tablet valued at $1,000. They also receive a waived training fee for a business partner; veteran-themed marketing assets; and the ability to hire active-duty military spouses and veterans as associates at a discount. Additional veteran incentives include the ability to move residences and stay in business, LeisureCare Travel Insurance discounts for veterans, travel discounts for military customers and access to veteran networking groups.

As the only travel franchise to receive a 5 STAR ranking from the International Franchise Association’s VetFran initiative, Dream Vacations proudly supports military veterans and is consistently recognized by leading industry publications as a veteran-friendly franchise. Other national accolades include number one rankings by Military Times, Entrepreneur and Forbes. Additional recognitions include inclusion on G.I. Jobs annual “Hot Franchises for Veterans,” US Veterans magazine’s “Top Veteran-Friendly Companies” and USA Today’s “50 Top Franchises for Military Veterans.”

Military veterans who have a passion for travel and entrepreneurism who are interested in opening a Dream Vacations travel franchise and want to be considered as a candidate for Operation Vetrepreneur, please visit www.OperationVetrepreneur.com or call 888-249-8235.

About Dream Vacations

Travel agents with the top-ranked home-based travel agency franchise Dream Vacations have the resources to plan and create seamless vacation experiences for their customers while offering the best value. A member of the International Franchise Association, Dream Vacations is part of World Travel Holdings and has received partner of the year, a top-ranking status, by all the major cruise lines as well as national recognition for its support of military veterans. For more information about Dream Vacations, visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com. Like Dream Vacations on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DreamVacationsFranchise, follow on Twitter at @Dream_Franchise and watch its videos at http://www.youtube.com/DreamVacationsBusiness.

PHOTO: 2018 Operation Vetrepreneur Winner and Navy Veteran Christo Robinson. Photo Credit: www.TheLXA.com

Tee It Up for the Troops Donates 20th E-Z-GO Vehicle to Fisher House Foundation to Assist Disabled Veterans and Their Families

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Tee it up for troops logo

A golf car is a nice amenity on the golf course, but for families of veterans and active duty service members who are being treated at Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers, golf cars are a valuable and needed mode of transportation.

With limited parking and specialized transportation needs, many veterans and their elderly family members are unable to make the journey around a VA hospital campus.

That’s why Tee It Up for the Troops, with their national headquarters in Burnsville, Minn., has partnered with Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, manufacturer of E-Z-GO vehicles, to donate customized vehicles to Fisher House, a foundation that provides comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge. Tee It Up for the Troops has donated a “battalion” of E-Z-GO vehicles to Fisher House facilities nationwide, with the recent 20th new ride delivered to the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System in California.

For the last seven years, Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, in partnership with E-Z-GO distributor Versatile Vehicles of Prior Lake, Minn., have delivered several vehicles a year to Fisher Houses across the nation. The first was delivered to the Augusta VA Medical Center in Georgia in 2012, with others reaching the East Coast’s Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, the West Coast’s Camp Pendleton in California, and midwestern Fisher Houses in Milwaukee, Wisc. and Minneapolis, Minn.

“Tee It Up for the Troops has been there for us and has provided a vehicle to every one of our houses on a VA property that has needed one,” said Brian Gawne, Vice President of Community Relations for Fisher House Foundation. “Parking and getting around on a VA campus is always a challenge, and some families are not mobile. Thanks to Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, these cars are a godsend when families are facing a tough medical crisis.”

“Recently we had a veteran discharged from the hospital after kidney removal surgery and it would have been extremely painful for him to bend into a vehicle to get back to Fisher House,” said Jenny Hall, Manager of the Alaska Fisher House. “The golf car allowed him to easily slide in and out at a comfortable height with minimal pain.”

“It’s great teaming up with E-Z-GO and working together to make our heroes’ lives better,” said Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director for Tee It Up for the Troops. “I truly believe our veterans and their families are entitled to be taken care of, and donating these vehicles is just one way we do that.”

Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted 500 fundraising events in over 40 states over the last 15 years, allowing the non-profit organization to donate over $10 million to military service organizations that provide critically needed services to combat veterans and their families.

“Electric shuttles that are quiet and efficient can take a whole family or injured warfighter from a Fisher House around the campus to receive therapy or see a doctor,” said Brandon Haddock, Director, Communications at Textron Specialized Vehicles. “The vehicles can traverse facility paths, parking lots, and even into the entry of a VA hospital. It’s great to see how excited people are about the shuttles and to give the veterans something they really need.”

“These stretch electric shuttles, which can comfortably accommodate six passengers, are customized with many added features for the comfort and safety of veterans,” said Gaby Accad, owner of Versatile Vehicles, whose distributorship customizes many of the Fisher House vehicles. Additions include safety lights, turn signals, a rear seat that can convert to a flatbed to carry a wheelchair or other equipment, and a retractable windshield to block wind and rain.

Accad works with local companies to donate custom features, including red, white and blue premium seats embroidered with the Tee It Up for the Troops logo, decals that are applied to the custom-painted cars, and shipping of the cars at donated or reduced rates to their destination.

“What this country has provided to me, it’s the least I can do for our soldiers who put their lives on the line for us to enjoy our freedom and the things we cherish in this country,” Accad said.

Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO first learned of the need for a small, efficient vehicle to transport wounded warriors in 2011, when they shipped a vehicle to a military base in Afghanistan to help move soldiers to field hospitals and to get those recovering from injuries around the base. From there, the need to meet increased demands for transport of returning service members with disabilities and their families escalated stateside.

“This is just a continuation of our support for veterans who do incredible things for our country,” Wegscheid said of the vehicles.

About Tee It Up for The Troops

Tee It Up for the Troops, Inc, is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves U.S. military veterans and their families.  Based in Minnesota, Tee it Up for the Troops inspires communities across the country to organize golf events to raise funds for partnering veterans service organizations who deliver critically needed services to military families.  These locally-supported events greatly assist returning service members to successfully reintegrate into their communities.  Established in 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted over 475 events in more than 40 states and has donated over $10 million to more than 335 various organizations serving veterans across the country.  In addition, through their REUNION initiative, Tee It Up for the Troops has reunited more than 300 combat altered veterans who were separated due to battlefield injuries or changes in rehabilitation status.  Through these reunions, participating veterans enhance their transition process into productive and fulfilling civilian lifestyles. For more information visit: teeitupforthetroops.org.

About E-Z-GO
E-Z-GO is an iconic, world-renowned brand in golf cars and personal transportation vehicles. Products sold under the
E-Z-GO brand include RXV® and TXT® fleet golf cars, Freedom® RXV and Freedom TXT personal golf cars, E-Z-GO Express™ personal utility vehicles, and the 2Five® street-legal low-speed vehicle. Known for innovation in electric-vehicle technology, E-Z-GO’s newest offerings include the ELiTE series of lithium-ion powered golf cars and PTVs. Founded in 1954 in Augusta, Ga., E-Z-GO became part of Textron Inc. in 1960, and today operates as part of the company’s Textron Specialized Vehicles division.

About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information visit: textron.com.

About Fisher House

Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of 82 comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.  These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital it serves. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths.  Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room.  Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee.  Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation. Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. For more information visit: fisherhouse.org.

It’s Life or Death for a Puppy in the Middle East

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Bucky with soldier stationed in the Middle East

May is Military Appreciation Month.  What better way to wrap up the month, then by helping our heroes overseas? Morale can be tough to keep when you are a soldier stationed in the Middle East.

Each day brings challenges and often despair. For one soldier and his crew stationed in Kuwait, that all changed when one, tiny puppy entered their camp.

Before the tiny stray made his way into the life of 21-year-old SPC Dakota J. Campbell and his crewmembers, morale was at an all time low. Then one day, the soldiers witnessed a puppy run by their site, being chased by a larger dog. The men proceeded to scare off the dog, and the puppy scurried to hide and got his self stuck in a cement barrier.

As the soldiers saved the puppy from near death, it didn’t take long before they realized that the puppy actually saved them. They named this little guy Bucky and he lifted their spirits, gave them hope, and helped inspire them each day. With Bucky around, they felt a sense of home.

“We can only imagine the difficulty these soldiers in war torn areas face on a daily basis,” explains Robert Misseri of Paws of War. “The fact that this dog helped our heroes get through some of the darkest days in their life is testament to the abilities of a dog. We must try to get Bucky to the United States.  It is the least we can do for SPC Campbell and the crew.”

Now Campbell is heading back to the states, where he will be stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Rather than leave Bucky in Kuwait, where his fate would be certain death as a street dog, he is reaching out to us all to get Bucky to America, where he can live his life in security and peace with SPC Campbell, and they can both have a genuine, true sense of home.

“Bucky may have saved us, but I can’t bear to leave him behind, it’s time for me to once again save him,” added Campbell. “I have one dog at home, which is like my only son, and I can’t wait for Bucky to meet him. It will be a dream come true for me to be able to bring Bucky to Texas.”

Bringing a dog back to America from the Middle East is no easy task, and it’s a costly process. Paws of War is supported solely by donations and has helped numerous soldiers to bring their rescued dogs back from the Middle East. To help make the mission possible, they are asking everyone to pitch in and thank this Army team for protecting our freedom by donating toward Bucky’s journey to the U.S. Every dollar makes a difference.  To learn more about Campbell and Bucky’s story and to make a donation, log online: pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/saving-bucky.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a non-profit 501c3 charitable organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets, rescues and trains dogs to be service dogs, and provides therapy dogs to veterans. To learn more about Paws of War and the programs provided or make a donation visit its site at: http://pawsofwar.org.

Online Recruitment Platform to Connect Workers with Disabilities to Rewarding Careers

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The ISABLED Virtual Career Fair platform makes it easier to connect recruiters from leading companies and high-impact professionals with disabilities. There are currently more jobs in the U.S than available workers to fill them, and companies are forced to explore more options to find talent to hire to help them grow their business.

Workers with different abilities (often referred to as workers with disabilities) are just one example of highly-skilled, but untapped segments of the population that more and more leading companies are seeking to recruit.

ISABLED, an online recruiting platform connects workers that identify as having a disability, with recruiters from leading companies who value inclusion and diversity in their workforce. The ISABLED platform allows job seekers and recruiters to connect and chat in real-time, from anywhere, and from the comfort and convenience of their home or office.

” The ISABLED Virtual Career Fairs are a fun and easy way to connect recruiters and job seekers with disabilities. Instead of asking both sides to attend a job fair at a physical location, we bring the career fair to them. The ISABLED platform allows our employer partners to recruit nationwide in just a few hours, and job seekers have instant access to the very recruiters who are seeking to fill the open positions” Stated Kevin O’Brien, Managing Partner, ISABLED.

The ISABLED website will include content to connect workers with disabilities to job opportunities from a wide range of companies and industries. The website will include a job board and a virtual career fair platform. ISABLED will host 4 virtual career fairs each year, and companies can host standalone virtual career fairs for their company as often as they like.

The first ISABLED virtual career fair is set for July 25, 2019, and open now for registration.

About ISABLED:

ISABLED, a division of Astound Virtual has a laser-focus on connecting industry-leading companies with workers people with disabilities who seek employment. Through the ISABLED Recruitment Center (IRC), job seekers and recruiters meet and interact, in real-time, but from the comfort and convenience of their home or office.

Lowe’s announces new partnerships with military organizations

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Lowe's building sign with a flag in the background

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, Lowe’s is pleased to announce three partnerships allowing for deeper relationships with the military community nationwide.

Each partner, including the United Service Organizations (USO), American Veterans (AMVETS) and Operation FINALLY HOME, now connects military to Lowe’s resources from workforce training to affordable housing for veterans and more.

“Lowe’s commitment to the military is longstanding and partnerships with these organizations allow us to form stronger connections with the military community,” said Joe McFarland, U.S. Marines veteran and Lowe’s executive vice president of stores. “We look forward to working closely with each organization to serve the military community through programs focused on safe, affordable housing and transitioning military into dynamic careers.”

Partners and details include:

The USO is known as the Force Behind the Forces® and strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation. Lowe’s national partnership with the USO will support military spouse programming and the USO’s Pathfinder® program, which offers a network of resources and personalized support throughout all aspects of transition during their military careers.

“The USO is honored to partner with Lowe’s to offer service members and military spouses interactive workshops and networking opportunities designed to help them land apprenticeships and jobs in the skilled trades,” said Lisa Anastasi, USO Chief Development and Marketing Officer. “Together, we will connect them to the training and support they need to thrive in these career fields while navigating the frequent transitions of military life.”

AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive congressionally-chartered veterans service organization representing the interests of 20 million veterans.

Lowe’s partnership contributes scholarships and workforce training, helping veterans transition from military service to employment nationwide.

“With Lowe’s, we’re looking to close the gap and offer scholarships and programs that place the military in highly-trained positions,” shares Rege Riley, national commander at AMVETS. “Through this effort, we plan on reaching 3 million individuals across our military channels.”

Operation FINALLY HOME provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes and home modifications to wounded, ill and injured veterans and the widows of the fallen from all branches of the military. Lowe’s current partnership contributes home building and modification support to projects across the country.

“Lowe’s is an outstanding fit as we continue to bring builders, developers and volunteers together to help our heroes and their families,” said Rusty Carroll, executive director at Operation FINALLY HOME.

Continue on to Lowe’s Newsroom to read the complete article.

After Winning Medals In Afghanistan, Veteran Brings Number One Home Inspection Company To Pasadena, CA

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Spencer Velez poses in uniform) in a military vehicle

Spencer Velez knows how to use his expertise and skills. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 14 years. The now 35-year-old deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for superior performance of duties while serving in a direct combat service support role.

As if those achievements weren’t enough, Velez then completed graduate school at the University of Southern California (USC) earning a Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) degree in a program designed to leverage the management and leadership experience gained during military service.

While attending graduate school, he applied these skills to his role in Corporate Compliance with The Walt Disney Company. In that role, he ensured wherever Disney products were manufactured, the workers were provided a safe and inclusive environment.

In May, he added a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® franchise to round out his business skills. Velez will serve homebuyers and sellers throughout Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Alhambra, Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, Burbank, Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Rosemead, Monterey Park, Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

Spencer Valez smiling in headshot
Spencer Valez, Pillar to Post Home Inspectors

The brand is a favorite among veterans such as Velez. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is a member of VetFran, a program of the International Franchise Association that helps vets purchase franchises and it has achieved 5-star status in that program, the top ranking possible. In 2018, one-third of new Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchisees were military vets. “Pillar to Post provides a service that brings people happiness and positively impacts the community by educating the client about the home – purchasing a home is a big and exciting step and we are a part of that journey,” said Velez. “I have great plans to grow the business to its maximum potential with multiple professional home inspectors and valuable services. I will be a leader built on a reputation of respect and hard work which I learned through my military service.”

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, is the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home. Consistently ranked as the top-rated home inspection company on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise500®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is enjoying its 19th year in a row on that list.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 19 years in a row. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit pillartopostfranchise.com.

What Are ‘New-Collar’ Jobs?

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Cropped shot of a group of business colleagues meeting in the boardroom

By Jess Scherman

In the past, American jobs have generally been classified into one of two categories: white collar and blue collar. The former typically includes jobs performed in an office setting by highly skilled and formally trained professionals, while the latter generally refers to labor jobs that often require professionals to work with their hands.

Today’s workforce, however, is chock-full of job opportunities that don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree but do call for a highly specialized skill set. It was in response to this widening need that Ginni Rometty, president and CEO of IBM, coined the term “new-collar” jobs.

As national focus on this developing sector of the workforce increases, we’re digging into the definition of new-collar jobs to uncover how they can impact entire industries.

Join us as we explore our findings and look into several examples of new-collar jobs you might come across in today’s labor force.

What are New-Collar Jobs?

Rometty has defined her coined phrase as including jobs that may not require a traditional college degree. In doing so, she hopes to help entire industries acknowledge a shift that needs to occur amidst hiring managers to look beyond the four-year degree and focus instead on a candidate’s relevant skills—particularly when obtained through valuable hands-on experience.

That being said, there’s no set-in-stone definition of the term or master list of jobs that fit the bill. Generally speaking, new-collar jobs are defined as skilled positions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree and often require some degree of technological know-how.

7 New-Collar Jobs to Consider

Many new-collar jobs can be found in the fields of healthcare and technology, and many of these positions offer respectable compensation levels. They’re also among some of the most in-demand jobs in today’s market.

Whether you’re looking to enter the workforce for the first time, you’re hoping to transition back to the workplace after taking some time off or you’ve been eager to change your career path, there are plenty of promising opportunities with new-collar jobs. Consider the following examples.

1 Pharmacy technician

Professionals who pursue a career as a pharmacy technician are able to enjoy the numerous benefits of working in the medical field without having to spend a handful of years immersed in formal medical training. So what do they do? In simple terms, pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist to prepare medications for customers.

Typical duties include measuring, mixing, counting, labeling and recording dosages of medications from prescription orders in addition to some basic clerical work like obtaining patient information, data entry and filing.

2 Cyber security analyst

With an increasing amount of valuable data being stored online, it should come as no surprise that information security has become a hiring focal point for many organizations—in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of information security analysts to grow 28 percent by 2026.* Cyber security is one area of new-collar expertise that is so in-demand that Congress has actually considered passing a bill that would grant tax credits to employers who pay for workers to receive specialized training in it—though that bill still has a ways to go before becoming law.

Political wrangling aside, working as a cyber security analyst requires a wealth of hands-on experience with common security technologies and a working knowledge of networking services, protocols and design principles. These tech pros are responsible for designing and developing security architectures and frameworks within dynamic and adaptive online environments.

3 Physical therapist assistant

As a physical therapist assistant, you would team up with physical therapists to help patients regain their full range of motion after an injury or when an illness provides temporary setbacks. This is an ideal career path for those who want to get out from behind a desk and be able to directly observe the ways your work can impact the lives of others.

Physical therapist assistants spend a lot of time working one-on-one with patients, observing their progress and showing them new stretches and exercises to help get them functioning at their peak levels. In addition to working to help patients regain typical range of motion, these medical professionals can contribute to the design of a patient’s treatment plan and provide any necessary education to patients and their families.

4 Web developer

As you may have assumed, web developers specialize in building websites, but their duties span much further that. These tech pros are tasked with analyzing user needs to ensure the right content, graphics and underlying structure is used to both meet the goals of the user and the goals of the website owner.

Typical duties of a web developer include using authoring or scripting languages to build websites; writing, designing and editing web page content, or delegating others to do so; identifying and correcting problems uncovered by user testing and converting written, graphic, audio and video components to compatible web formats.

5 Medical assistant

Professionals in patient care, medical assistants can work in a wide range of settings, from large hospitals to ambulatory care. They work under the direction of a supervising physician as they perform various administrative and clinical tasks. Administrative duties include updating patient records, scheduling appointments and navigating billing and insurance.

The clinical aspects of the medical assistant job include assisting the physician in taking and recording patients’ vital signs, explaining procedures to patients and their loved ones, administering medications, drawing blood, sterilizing equipment and conducting a variety of tests in the lab.

6 Radiologic technologist

With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age and additionally needing more medical care, it’s no surprise technical medical support roles are in-demand. One of the key components to medical care, diagnostic imaging, is performed in part by radiologic technologists—a career that fits the “new-collar” label very well. Radiologic technologists are healthcare professionals who use specialized equipment to create X-ray images or mammograms that help doctors diagnose ailments and determine treatment options.

7 Computer user support specialist

We live in a digital world—practically every business and organization relies on a host of computers, networks and devices to keep things running smoothly. While most people do a good job of using this technology for their specific jobs, things get a bit dicey when the technology they use isn’t working as intended. That’s where computer user support specialists come in.

Computer user support specialists, often called help desk specialists, are the tech professionals who work directly with users to ensure their devices are working properly. They troubleshoot issues, install and remove hardware and software and perform regular maintenance to keep computer networks up and running.

Could a New-Collar Job be Your Dream Career?

New-collar jobs present a bevy of new opportunities for American workers of all ages who don’t have four-year college degrees. If you’re looking for your chance to enter into a new field, these careers may be an excellent starting point to consider.

Source: rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/new-collar-jobs/

About Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

How to Celebrate Memorial Day at the Office

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Woman veteran in office wearing US Flag pin

By Hiliary Innerbichler

Stuck at work on Memorial Day Monday? Here are some ways to celebrate.

Honor the Fallen
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans—the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—established Decoration Day, now Memorial Day, as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. So honor the fallen by taking an office field trip to a local cemetery to lay flowers on a veteran’s grave.

Dress in Red, White, and Blue
A simple but classic way to show your support for our nation’s fallen heroes is to dress in the patriotic colors of the flag.

Run a Book Drive
Ever heard of Operation Paperback? Now celebrating its 20-year anniversary, nonprofit Operation Paperback has sent over 2,853,347 books to deployed troops, veterans, military families, VA hospitals, USOs, and Red Cross units in 35 countries. Have your office pitch in and send a collection of books to Operation Paperback!

Take a Moment to Observe
Established by Congress, the National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause in an act of national unity at 3:00 p.m. local time for one minute to honor those who died in service to our country.

Share on Social Media
Have you lost a family member who died in military service? Take a moment on Memorial Day to remember them by posting a picture on your social media platform and sharing your thanks and love.