In 2010, the jobless rate for Veterans ages 18 to 24 was one of the highest ever recorded for this age group – 20.6 percent.

A core goal of the National Disabled Veteran Business Council (NDVBC)’s Union Carpenters Apprenticeships program is to confront this number by providing young Veterans with the opportunity to make a decent living and own their own homes. This is a program for Veterans by Veterans. Everyone involved – from the apprentices to the tradespeople – has served.

The program is a clear reflection of NDVBC’s mission.  Established in Washington, D.C. in 2007, we work to unite and represent the thousands of disabled Veteran business owners across the country. We assist in the formation and development of organizations in every state to support and serve the disabled Veteran business community.

The apprenticeship program currently operates in two states, Florida and New York. Eventually, our plan is to go nationwide. To give you an idea of how it works, in Florida we have been working with banks to acquire housing stock. Our apprenticeship teams then renovate the houses, providing valuable, on-the-job training. After work is completed, one of the apprentice carpenters is given the house to own.

In other words, we’re taking a depressed housing market and turning it into something good by creating a second economy – and giving Veterans sustainable job training in the process.

To be accepted into the program, Veterans must be GI Bill/Vocational Rehabilitation approved. You will qualify if you are a newly returning or injured Veteran who is fully capable of performing the work. Our training program also has been approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.

We’re proud of the progress we’re making with this program, but like most worthwhile pursuits, it didn’t happen overnight. As an organization, building relationships to support our organization and our Veterans is key to our success.

For us, many of these relationships began at the National Veteran Small Business Conference, the only event of its kind that brings together service disabled Veterans from across the country, and gives Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses the opportunity to learn, interact, and market their businesses.

Each time I’ve attended the conference, I’ve found multiple opportunities to network and discuss the challenges many Veterans face in finding good jobs. I met so many young Veterans that could and wanted to work, but the jobs just didn’t exist. I wanted to find a way to help them. From this, the NDVBC was born.

I initially began attending the National Veteran Small Business Conference because my company was looking to acquire federal contracts. Although we had been in business for many years, we had not succeeded in obtaining any. The conference helped us understand the process.

As a result, we’ve built many relationships that have helped our organization grow and thrive. I highly recommend other Veteran business owners interested in working with the federal government to attend. You’ll get a lot of good information on how to go after government contracts – and even be able to speak with actual contracting officers at the conference, an invaluable benefit.

We will be at the conference again this year to promote the Union Carpenters Apprenticeship program, and speak to Veterans interested in joining us in making it a success. We’ll also continue to build on the solid relationships we’ve made at the conference in previous years, and make some new ones.

The conference will take place this year from August 15-18 in New Orleans and you may register now.

Hiring Veterans and creating quality job opportunities for them is one way this country can pay it forward for the service and sacrifice they’ve given us.

Joe Franklin is an Army RJoe Franklineserve Service Disabled Veteran and co-founder of the National Disabled Veteran Business Council.




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Published on Apr. 19, 2011

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  1. Jenny George July 1, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I work for the FDVA State Approving Agency. Part of our responsibility is to approve job training programs in Florida in order for an eligible veteran to receive the VA educational benefit. I would like to talk with you about the opportunities in Florida. Please contact via email or phone at 727-215-7056.

    Thank you.

  2. Joe Franklin April 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    We are very interested in veteran workforce issues and hope we could develop a relation to assist our community.

  3. David Rhay April 21, 2011 at 3:02 am

    I am currently taking transitioning veterans through a career coaching course at a 20% discount from my normal fee. I am a certified career coach. I’m also a Marine Veteran myself. This basically just pays for my time. My typical coaching clients are small business. I would prefer to take clients that are just looking to figure out how to pull their talents into a new career direction. If the veteran needs highly specialized emotional help, then I would of course recommend that they seek counseling or therapy first. Veterans may also log on to my website as member if they would like to send me any questions free of charge.

  4. William J De Lara April 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I would like more information from you on what is offered to a disabled(PTSD) veteran of the Viet Nam War. I am quite frankly “programed – out” after spending all my life as a self-taught carpenter having traveled and worked all over this great nation of ours over the past 40 years. I am well connected to the Bay Pines VAMC in Bay Pines, Florida after successfully going through the Homeless Veterans Domiciliary Program, the Substance Abuse Program, and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Program here at Bay Pines. I am now seven years sober and have built myself back up again from ground zero to living in my own cottage apartment, fully furnished. I own my own computer system (brand new), and also own about ten thousand dollars of carpentry power tools and hand tools. I have my own custom trailer with which to transport myself and my tools anywhere I wish to go. I received my High school diploma through Congressman C.W. Bill Young with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto having dropped out of High School at the age of sixteen to serve my country and I’ve been going ever since on my own and am looking to advance my life and enhance its quality of life. I never asked anyone for anything if I couldn’t get it on my own but after all these years of inflexible self will I’ve come to see that a man really can’t make it all alone and that he is a part of a much greater purpose in life. So again I turn to the only “real” people I have ever come to know in life and sobriety…you. The Veteran’s Administration. So, what , if anything, can you offer this Veteran concerning formal carpentry training and possibly owning and caring for my own home, anywhere in the state of Florida. Respectfully yours, Pvt. William J. De Lara, U.S. Army – 1964-1966.

    • Joe Franklin April 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

      We recently received some donated building lots from the city of ft myers. It sounds from your experience that you would make a great addition to our team.It is our intention to begin to bring in apprentices to start new home construction that they will own. Hopefully. you will be interested in participating. Send me an email.

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