Every year, about 200,000 veterans leave the armed forces—a process that the U.S Department of Labor calls “the military to civilian transition.” According to the Pew Research Center, only about one in four veterans have jobs lined up after leaving military service roles, leaving nearly 75 percent of retired or separated veterans to find and compete for civilian positions.
Today, July 25, National Hire a Veteran Day is recognized to encourage employers to recruit and hire veterans and to acknowledge the critical skills transitioning veterans bring to the workforce.
For Bryan Potts, a DFW-based U.S Army veteran, retiring from his former role as an Army Major also meant finding a job that appreciated his competitive leadership skills and the shared core values cultivated through military service.
JDog Brands — a company that provides business and employment opportunities for veterans and their families through franchises across the nation — supported Potts through this transition as he found his way into corporate America through healthcare management and eventually wanted to pursue a position that better fit his strengths. For over a year now, Potts and his wife have owned a JDog Brands franchise in Dallas-Fort Worth, JDog Junk Hauling and Removal, and they have seen great success.
“I think what I did is probably a natural progression for a lot of veterans, especially after they retire. Going into corporate America, and then realizing it is just a little bit different than what we’re used to,” Potts says. “Owning my own company made a lot more sense to me. The role fell more in line with how I was in the military and with some of the aspects that the military drilled into us.”
Veterans embody a variety of qualities that make them great additions to businesses: a good work ethic, teamwork, self-motivation, and strong dedication, Potts says. “Veterans are very much an adapt and overcome group. When we run into an obstacle, we see it as: ‘do we need to go over it, under it, around it, or through it?’ We’re used to being able to adjust on the fly, and I think that’s what really sets us apart.”
Founded by army veteran Jerry Flanagan and his wife Tracy, JDog Brands has over 270 JDog franchises nationwide, and each business prioritizes hiring veterans as the company strives toward its mission to lower the veteran unemployment rate to below one percent.
With a similar vision in mind, national construction company McCarthy Building Cos. partnered with veteran-owned organization Adaptive Construction Solutions (ACS) in 2020 to recruit, train, and enroll U.S military veterans in free apprenticeship programs—opening the door to long-term employment opportunities. Alongside ACS, these programs are being piloted on McCarthy’s utility-scale solar and renewable energy projects, where veterans learn and develop the skills needed to be successful in relevant construction jobs.
With about 50 to 70 veterans currently in these programs and 300 veterans hired company-wide, McCarthy is committed to their growing focus on hiring veterans, says Erica Gilliland, craft recruiting director at McCarthy.
“I think the evidence is there. And the research has already been proven that this is a typically well-trained, loyal workforce,” says Gilliland. “This is a group of people who are already used to working as a team, who have that collective team effort to getting something done.”
Gilliland adds, “It’s the right thing to do to help those who have served our country, but we also have noticed that it helps the business. Their skills and ability really help elevate our workforce as a whole.”
“If you’re hiring a veteran, you’re going to have a higher likelihood of success,” she says.