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In honor of Memorial Day, Jim Cramer thinks it is time to shine the spotlight on a significant issue in the United States; helping veterans transition from the battlefield to the business world.
Statistics show that the unemployment rate for veterans who have served since September, 2001 is almost two points higher than the general population. Employers in the U.S. are always searching for the best employees who exhibit loyalty, integrity, and the character of proven leadership.
Those same qualities are often exhibited by those who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
One of the groups that are addressing this issue is Your Grateful Nation. It is a non-profit corporation that is dedicated to supporting U.S. combat veterans and their families' transition from military to civilian life. The foundation's initial goal was to serve those who have faced combat and high-risk missions, and provides services such as employment transition services, paid internships, cooperative education and family stabilization support.
A major component in a job search is looking the part. So Your Grateful Nation has partnered with Knot Standard, a private online retailer of custom suits, to provide veterans with free clothing to empower them on job interviews.
To find out more about what can be done to assist veterans, Cramer sat down with Rob Clapper, a former second lieutenant in the U.S. Army who is the co-founder of Your Grateful Nation; John Ballay, who is the president of Knot Standard; and two Navy SEALs.
Tej Gill is a vet who retired after serving 10 years on various SEAL teams. Darren McB, who initially joined the armed forces to pay back student loans, has now served in every war and conflict since the Kosovo crisis.
Cramer commented that when most people think of hiring veterans, they know they are hiring the best. Yet corporations are still not hiring at the rate that they should. Clapper explained that the reason for the lack of hiring in the U.S. is a two-fold. First is skills translation, as many may not know how to translate the skills acquired on duty into the corporate world.
The second issue, according to Clapper, is that there is a breakdown occurring in human resource departments within organizations. The HR procedures are not necessarily set up to understand how to translate a candidate's skills.
"If it's based upon a key word search and a magical engine, sometimes they are not going to be the right fit on the screen, but they're the right fit on paper," Clapper said. (Tweet This)
That is exactly why Your Grateful Nation tries to bridge the translation gap. McB also pointed out that another challenge to skill translation centers on the veteran not knowing, or even wanting, to have someone understand what they have been through.
"It is hard to sit down and start regurgitating everything you've done because a lot of people might not understand what you've done," McB added. (Tweet This)
In fact, Gill explained that some find the process of entering the corporate world so intimidating that it is easier for them to go back into combat, rather than try to get a job. However, if properly allowed to flourish they could provide tremendous problem solving and leadership skills that any corporation would find valuable.
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Ballay said that Knot Standard understands this intimidation, which is why they believe the way a veteran looks and feels on a job interview can impact the entire process.
"Our whole business ethos is about creating pride, whether that's if you're buying in one of our showrooms or you're a military vet. We want someone to come in and feel empowered to get that confidence and get that swagger," Ballay added.
Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated John Ballay's organizational affiliation.