Young people have long been struggling with soaring unemployment rates. But veteran millennials between the ages of 18 and 24 are grappling with a 21.4 percent unemployment rate, according to the Bureau Labor of Statistics. That’s because the skills that vets acquire in the military are difficult to transition to some of the high-tech jobs available in the United States.
Sharp Decisions, a business and technology consulting firm, is focusing on changing that statistic in New York City, one of the top 10 American cities with regards to veteran unemployment rates.
Through its Vocation, Education and Training for Service members (V.E.T.S.) Program, Sharp Decisions hire former service members as full-time employees and then trains and deploys them to clients in teams including other vets. The company puts each vet through an intensive training boot camp before outsourcing them to companies such as EmblemHealth, Experian and Freddie Mac. The program, entirely funded by Sharp Decisions, never uses the GI Bill or asks for government assistance.
Karen Ross, CEO of Sharp Decisions, founded the program not only because it was morally right, but also because it was a smart business decision. With expertise military training, vets are often efficient at completing a task. Under the pilot V.E.T.S. program, teams often completed projects in only two weeks, compared to the three months it would take an average civilian consultant, according to the company. In situations such as this, vets remain on Sharp Decision’s payroll when finishing a project early.
More recently, Sharp Decisions was one of three companies honored by the Rockefeller Foundation for innovations in hiring companies across the country.
“These three small businesses have developed business models that leverage the unique advantages that youth bring to a business. In doing so, they have achieved positive financial returns that make their strategies attractive for other businesses to replicate. As a result, they have benefitted their communities by creating sustainable social change,” according to the Foundation.