WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2011-The International Franchise Association (IFA) today announced “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” a campaign including the industry’s more than 825,000 franchise establishments, which support nearly 18 million jobs, to hire and recruit 75,000 veterans and 5,000 wounded warriors by 2014. The announcement, made by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of the White House Joining Forces Initiative, represents the largest industry veteran hiring commitment to date.
“As tens of thousands of service men and women return from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Southwest Asia, expanded opportunities are needed to ensure that veterans and their families are able to transition into the civilian economy. With its rapid training opportunities, defined structure and systems, and need for operational excellence, franchising provides an ideal structure to enable returning veterans to become leaders of and productive participants in the U.S. economy,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “We encourage all franchise businesses, including franchisors and franchisees, to answer the call to offer jobs and career opportunities to veterans, wounded warriors and their families. Not only is this critical for the economic and social stability of veterans and their families, but it is an important component of the U.S. economic recovery.”
Veterans have a proven track record of success in franchising. According to a recent study based on U.S. Census data, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise establishments in the United States, providing jobs directly for 815,000 Americans. Over 2,100 veterans have become franchise business owners through the IFA’s VetFran program, originally established in 1991, and subsequently re-vamped after 9/11. Responding now to veteran unemployment rates of 11.7 percent (22 percent for veterans under 25 years old), IFA is launching Operation Enduring Opportunity to offer returning veterans career paths in franchising including employment and ownership on a broader scale.
“This is exactly what we hoped for when Joining Forces was set into motion by the First Lady and Dr. Biden-private sector companies stepping up for veterans and families,” said Captain Brad Cooper, U.S. Navy, and Executive Director of the White House Joining Forces Initiative. “The franchise industry’s commitment represents the largest employment commitment seen to date from the private sector.”
Specific hiring and recruitment targets by franchise businesses will be posted at www.VetFran.com.
In addition to announcements in Washington, franchise business leaders in ten cities will hold events at franchise locations highlighting the benefits of franchise small business ownership for veterans and announce veteran hiring and recruitment targets by their companies. Local officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will speak with franchise business owners at these events to describe the support SBA can provide to veterans interested in purchasing a franchise through various lending programs. Representatives from the lending community will participate in the Washington, D.C. and regional events as part of IFA’s partnership with the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.
Events taking place as part of this campaign are below:
• Atlanta, Ga. (Aaron’s, TSS Photography and Foot Solutions)
• Colorado Springs, Colo. (Conspire! and Small Business Administration)
• Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (International Institute for Franchise Education at Nova Southeastern University)
• Houston, Tex. (FASTSIGNS, JP Morgan Chase SBA Division)
• Jacksonville, Fla. (Tasti D-Lite)
• Minneapolis, Minn. (The Entrepreneur’s Source, Waterfront Financial Group, Faegre & Benson and Rapid Refill, LLC)
• San Diego, Calif. (The UPS Store ® and TeamLogicIT)
• Seattle, Wash. (Guidant Financial)
• Waco, Tex. (The Dwyer Group and Mr. Rooter)
IFA member companies will be able to use the Joining Forces “Veterans Job Bank,” a new search enhancement tool to enable franchise recruiting and hiring operations to more effectively reach veterans. The Administration, in collaboration with the Schema.org coalition (Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!) released a data standard that allows businesses to retain existing job posting preferences while enabling veterans to more effectively search for job opportunities.
The franchise industry’s Wounded Warrior hiring and recruitment commitments were made at the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference on Nov. 9 with White House Joining Forces Executive Director Brad Cooper, Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, US Navy.
TeamLogic, a subsidiary of Franchise Services, Inc., committed to award up to ten franchises in 2012 to qualified candidates that come through and meet the requirements of the IFA’s VetFran program, representing a $400,000 investment. TeamLogicIT will also work with the Creating IT Futures Foundation, a division of CompTIA, to leverage their IT-Ready Apprentice Program to help these new franchisees hire trained veteran technicians.
VetFran, a strategic initiative of the IFA, was born out of the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of the Dwyer Group, who understood that the skills and operational excellence learned through military service translated into owning and running successful franchise businesses.
For more information on IFA’s VetFran program, please visit www.vetfran.com.