Returning Hispanic veterans face an unemployment rate of 14 percent but successful small business ownership presents a real opportunity
While addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars on the campaign trail in Nevada, President Obama unveiled the Transition GPS program, which is designed to help returning veterans find jobs, earn certifications and gain job training. The program will be mandatory for all departing service members. Its part of his plan to improve jobless rates among veterans.
Unfortunately, a new study from the Center for New American Security points out that both civilians and veterans have a difficult time translating military skills into civilian job requirements. The report also says employers sometimes fear hiring veterans because they:
- Fear troops will have post-traumatic stress disorder and thus will have violent tendencies
- Worry that National Guard members will be called for duty, leaving the company short of personnel
- Assume that veterans want high-level jobs that they lack the skills to perform
Unemployment is a major issue among Hispanic veterans. According to the Labor Department, 14 percent of Hispanic veterans are unemployed. The situation is unlikely to improve soon. The good news is that Latino entrepreneurs can take charge of their own destinies by starting their own businesses. Hispanic veterans can take advantage of many government and non-profit programs that will help them to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.
The Rise of Hispanic Vets as Entrepreneurs
The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs who became business owners after serving in the Armed Forces doubled between 2002 and 2007. These Hispanic entrepreneurs own approximately 113,000 businesses, employ approximately 141,000 people and earn an estimated $25 billion per year.
Many veterans have taken advantage of startup loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). In 2011, the SBA funded approximately $1.5 billion in loans for veterans starting small businesses. Hispanic business owners who are veterans have also taken advantage of the rules surrounding federal government contracts. Three percent of U.S. government contracts must be awarded to veteran-owned small businesses, and 5 percent of contracts to minority-owned small businesses.