Veterans Look to Franchising Opportunities for New Careers

August 14, 2012

Like other American veterans, Air Force Master Sgt. Darrel Ferdinand needed a plan for his life after war. And one sector of the economy offered an answer — starting his own business.

He hopes to make that happen within the next six months when he opens a UPS Store near his home in New Orleans East, an area struggling to attract businesses seven years after Katrina.

"I'm trying to get the future right," says the 47-year-old Ferdinand.

Finding employment has been a struggle for many of these newest war veterans. An estimated 218,000 Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans were jobless the second quarter of this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan stood at 10.4% in the second quarter.

For the most vulnerable group of veterans, ages 18-24, joblessness was 21.9% in the second quarter, higher than the 15.3% rate for their civilian peers, says BLS economist James Borbely.

In response, hundreds of restaurant and service chains are offering incentives to help veterans open a shop — waiving franchise fees, reducing royalty payments and guiding them through crafting business plans.

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