Best Economic Empowerment Program: UPS
UPS: Supporting the Careers and Livelihoods of Veterans Re-Entering the Workforce
UPS® makes employment, mentorship, training, and franchise ownership more accessible to veterans as the men and women of America’s Armed Forces return home from active duty.
For many years, UPS has supported America’s veterans along with government agencies and service organizations to offer job training and placement assistance. Each year, 200,000 servicemen are discharged from the military. Unemployment—at just over 20 percent for veterans—is consistently ranked as one of the biggest challenges facing these men and women.
Transportation, shipping, and logistics offer promising avenues for those seeking new careers out of uniform. Veterans understand our need for strong, precise results in a dynamic, fast-paced setting. They have the skills and mindset to be successful at UPS. UPS, like the military, promotes from within, based on merit. We also encourage diversity across the board. Our jobs are well defined and detail-oriented, much like military roles. These similarities help veterans make easier transitions when they join our global team.
When planning our veterans initiatives, we consult a number of stakeholders with whom we have built long-term strategic partnerships, such as the Department of Labor, Department of Defense, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the White House’s “Joining Forces Initiative,” the International Franchise Association, and our pre-eminent partner, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).
UPS’ approach is to invest in what works—grassroots programs that are directly involved with job training and placement. We also collaborate with workforce planning managers in each of UPS’ districts to regularly reach out to local veterans and recruit them to jobs their communities.
What UPS Has Accomplished
In 2011, we hired 7,721 veterans, and in 2012, that number increased by 35 percent to 10,480. Today, UPS employs 23,724 veterans. Veterans currently make up 7.5 percent of our work force. In support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Joining Force Initiative,” UPS has pledged to hire 25,000 more veterans over the next five years and also to provide 25,000 volunteer hours to support Veterans Service Organizations.
Today, veterans operate more than 250 of “The UPS Store” locations. UPS participates in the International Franchise Association's VetFran program, which provides $10,000 toward the franchise fee of a new store and a 75 percent discount on the initial application fee to veterans. The goal of this public-private initiative is to work together to recruit and/or hire as many as 75,000 military veterans by the end of 2014.
In June 2012, UPS met its own additional goal of waiving the $29,950 franchise fee for 10 qualified veterans and offered an additional $300,000 in incentives for 10 more qualified veterans. The company is also working with Paralyzed Veterans of America to open a location where PVA would provide job training for wounded veterans.
In 2013, The UPS Foundation took a major role in expanding the Paving Access for Veterans Employment (PAVE) program by committing $1 million over three years. We have already met $385,000 of that goal. Our support will enable PVA to markedly increase the chance of meaningful vocational recovery for our veterans.
In terms of dedicating volunteer hours, UPS employees have made a focused effort to offer veterans mentoring, career coaching, and networking opportunities. Last year, we worked with American Corporate Partners, a nationwide mentoring program dedicated to helping veterans transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce. In just three hours, we recruited 50 mentors for their program from among the UPS ranks, and have since recruited 100 mentors for ACP.
Why This Project Makes Sense
UPS’ veteran hiring and job-training efforts have been successful because of our efforts to align programs with our core business competencies and design initiatives, which are tied to the unique skills service members develop through the Armed Forces. It makes good business sense for UPS to recruit and support America’s veterans, a highly skilled group equipped to fill our company’s needs, and it makes us proud to invest in our country’s heroes when they return home.