This commentary is by Sidney Goodfriend, founder and chairman of American Corporate Partners. ACP is a nationwide mentoring program dedicated to helping veterans transition from the armed services to private enterprise through career counseling and networking with professionals from some of America’s finest corporations (www.acp-usa.org).
Veterans Day, is a day of reflection. We think of and celebrate those who have served our country, many of whom have sacrificed a great deal. Since the days of the all-volunteer military, we must recognize that a strong and safe U.S. relies on those who have chosen to serve.
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, close to four million Americans have served in our military and it is anticipated that 200,000 of our service members will leave the military in the next 12 months, some when their tours are up and some due to retirement. This year, the 200,000 are likely headed into a tougher economic climate than that faced in some time.
Many have no private sector experience and translating skills acquired in the military (in artillery or armor, for example) is often not easy to do when interviewing with a Fortune 500 company.
A staggering 86% of veterans have said that finding a career path is one of their biggest challenges when exiting the Armed Forces, according to a 2016 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation survey. Veterans also cited a lack of feedback from hiring managers and translating military skills into the private sector as obstacles.
The survey also noted that veterans experience unemployment periods of four months — or longer — when transitioning into the private sector.
So how can we, as civilians, assist those who have served? One approach is to volunteer to mentor these men and women as they leave the military to find their next careers.
More than 14 years ago, I founded the non-profit American Corporate Partners (ACP). ACP is a national veteran mentoring program asking individuals to volunteer one hour a month for a year to mentor a returning service member. The program is customized, the mentoring is virtual and it’s easy. We are the nation’s largest customized veteran mentoring program with more than 25,000 post 9/11 veterans having completed our program. (In addition, we also serve active-duty military spouses.) Our veteran satisfaction rate is 98%.
ACP mentors assist with veterans’ resumes, offer interview advice and most importantly offer career advice and networking contacts. Many ACP mentors have told us that they have received much more from the relationship than they have given.
Historically ACP has sourced our volunteers from Corporate America and more than 125 of the greatest companies throughout the country provide us with volunteer mentors.
But today, we need your help. We have thousands of veterans seeking mentors and we would like to ask our readers to join us. Remember: it’s one hour per month. It’s virtual and easy. More information and an application may be found on our website: acp-usa.org.
You can thank a veteran for his or her service and make a life changing impact — all without leaving your home. At ACP, we believe in the spirit that made our country great.
This Veterans Day, let’s thank those who have given of themselves. The ACP motto is simple: “Because their service deserves our service.” Join us.