Dave Moore, Staff Writer
North Texas companies strongly support veterans in their missions to return to the workforce, and their resumption of life after military service. This is especially true among Dallas Regional Chamber member companies, who offer a variety of benefits for those who served their country. Many make it a point to hire veterans to leverage the leadership skills and work ethic engrained in military vets. Here are just a few of the services and benefits DRC members offer to past and current members of the military and their families:
“A 7‑Eleven franchise is a natural fit for veterans,” said 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto, a veteran of the U.S. Army. “As franchisees, they add solid leadership skills and strong discipline to the creativity, energy, and spirit of entrepreneurship. They are good at dealing with people and with day-to-day challenges.”
Dallas-based 7‑Eleven offers incentives and programs for all qualified U.S. veterans interested in business ownership; this includes up to 20% off an initial franchise fee (up to $50,000), up to 65% financing, and other financing options.
From a consumer standpoint, 7-Eleven works with the Veterans Advantage public benefit corporation to offer military discounts at its convenience stores nationwide. Veterans Advantage creates benefits and discounts for active duty, retired, veteran, guard, reservists, and family members.
This defense contractor – the world’s largest aerospace company – has strongly incorporated veterans into its operations; veterans represent 15% of Boeing’s workforce, according to company statistics. Boeing is also actively engaged in funding work that supports vets and their families, with an emphasis on aiding organizations that transition members of military families into the civilian workforce.
Most recently, Boeing today announced $14.2 million in charitable grants that will support 97 veterans organizations worldwide. The funding will aid veterans workforce transition services, and recovery and rehabilitation programs through 2021 and beyond, according to a Boeing news release.
“During this challenging time, Boeing is proud to partner with leading veterans organizations to provide our global veteran communities and their families with essential workforce transition support, and recovery and rehabilitation programs that address mental health,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun in the release.
Boeing also announced that beyond the $14.2 million grant package, it is launching a $4.5 million partnership with the Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF) to establish Future Force, a workforce training, recruitment, and placement program for veterans. The program will offer certification and training courses focused on the aerospace and defense industry, complemented by networking and employment opportunities for qualified transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses.
Over the past four years, Boeing’s contributions toward veteran causes total more than $41 million.
Master-planned developer Hillwood Communities has teamed up with home builder Highland Homes and national nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes to provide homes for American service vets.
A few months ago, that collaboration resulted in the groundbreaking of a mortgage-free home for U.S. Army Specialist Jason Wheeler and his family. Wheeler had served in the Army for 10 years when, in 2002, he was severely injured in a parachute-training accident that ultimately claimed both of his legs. The Wheeler’s new home is located in Hillwood Communities’ Union Park, an 1,100-acre master-planned residential Live Smart community in Little Elm, Texas. The gift to Wheeler is one of several Hillwood Communities has been involved in over the years.
“We are proud to be able to honor Specialist Wheeler and his family, and welcome them to the neighborhood,” Elaine Ford, Senior Vice President of Hillwood Communities, said in a release. “Specialist Wheeler has done so much for our country, and we wanted to give back to a man who has exemplified bravery and selflessness. Union Park is full of wonderful families who are excited to have the Wheeler family join them.”
Hillwood Communities also provides buyer incentives to military veterans and their families.
Between 2006 and 2019, Building Homes for Heroes has worked with Hillwood and numerous other businesses and volunteers to gift 225 homes to injured U.S. veterans.
The Jacobs Employee Network – VetNet – advocates for more than 2,000 veterans and military reserve members from around the globe, including armed forces from the U.S., Australia, Canada, India, U.K., and elsewhere. The network – which includes veterans and non-veterans – connects employees with one another, and with organizations that aid military families.
A year ago, Jacobs was recognized by the British government for the firm’s 30-year commitment to advocate for colleagues who serve or served in the armed forces, and for its support of the community at large. It was the second such award in three years.
“Jacobs has continued to build on this achievement with several initiatives that support employees’ annual reservist training and commitments, reservist forums to share experiences, and provide support to the (United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense) through secondment (temporary transfer) opportunities, seminars, and career advice – culminating in the latest recognition,” said a release from Jacobs.
Serving and employing members of the military and military families is the core of USAA’s mission.
Accordingly, veterans and military spouses or military partners comprise up to 25% of the workforce of Texas-based USAA, which has substantial operations in Plano and San Antonio. USAA offers military and military spouses a first look from talent recruiters when filling job openings, and has seven programs that attract, develop, and retain military talent. One such initiative is VetsLeaD, an internal, 12-month program designed to develop and retain newly hired USAA employees who have recently separated from the military.
From a consumer standpoint, those who qualify for membership at USAA – active, retired, and separated veterans with an “honorable” discharge from the U.S. military and their eligible family members – can receive a variety of investment, banking, and insurance services, including war-zone insurance and other financial services.