Let’s Help Our Bravest Swap the Battlefield for the Boardroom
CNBC’s Jim Cramer ‘Mad’ Veterans Struggle to Find Work.
“Stock” in the charitable organization Your Grateful Nation may well be on the rise — thanks to some high-profile press care of Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money. This week, Cramer ran a special segment on hiring veterans — particularly, those in special forces (e.g. Navy SEALs) — who’ve survived wars’ highest-risk missions and want to transition from the battlefield to the business world.
Cramer brings up the fact that many assume it’s easy for someone trained in special ops to get a job, simply based on their military reputation as “best of the best.” Secondly, he points out that the unemployment rate for veterans who’ve served since 2001 is two full points higher than the general population.
“A travesty,” he calls it.
Discussing such challenges with Cramer are guests:
- • Rob Clapper, Executive Director of Your Grateful Nation (YGN), and former Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
- • John Ballay, co-founder and president of Knot Standard, an online men’s retailer offering veterans free custom suits to help in their job search
- • Tej Gill, retired Navy SEAL and President of Grey Core Inc., Certified Executive Protection Specialists
- • Darren McB (McBurnett), active duty Navy SEAL, who’s served in every war and conflict since the Kosovo crisis
Highlights of their exchange:
Cramer: “I have many CEOs on the show. They all say the same thing. We want to hire the veterans. We really want to hire guys like SEALs. We want to hire the best. Yet when I look at the numbers of who gets hired, I’m not seeing it. Why?”
Clapper: “A lot of the candidates we work with at Your Grateful Nation have trouble translating their skills. Secondly, sometimes it’s a little bit of a breakdown entering the H.R. departments of these organizations. They’re not necessarily set up to understand how to translate the candidate that’s sitting in front of them. If it’s based upon a keyword search and a magical engine, they’re not going to be the right fit on the screen, but they’re the right fit on paper.”
Cramer: “What does YGN do to help bridge that gap?”
Clapper: “We work individually with each special operations veteran to help them translate their skills…those proven leadership, battle-tested leadership and management skills...and help them translate that into the private sector.”
“Secondly, we try and expose them to create a business network, really what the private sector is about, and show them how they can take what they've done — the successes they've attained — and really translate that into success in the private sector.”
Cramer: “You’re in (the military) and therefore you see how humble people are. You take orders. You do what’s necessary. You don’t say ‘I’m the greatest’. It's about your team. These are not necessarily skill sets that play say on Wall Street where you are supposed to say ‘I'm better than these other guys’.”
McB: (Laughs) “Well, you are absolutely correct, Jim. And you're right, in that aspect, it is very hard to say ‘yes, well I'm going to get a job.’...Oh it says Navy SEAL, what does that mean?...‘Well I'm the best in the world, so that's why you've got to hire me.’ You know, that's not what we want to say, but for us…it's very humbling and we know what we’ve done. How are we going to talk about that and make people understand it?”
Cramer: “Taj, are there instances of what you are doing is directly applicable to what the person in front of you might want you for?”
Gill: “Yeah, of course, but a lot of guys don't know that. They've gotten out and it's intimidating for them. Some of these guys are intimated to go out into the workforce and try to get a job with these companies. It’s easier just to go back to combat. We’re all under pressure. We’re tremendous problem solvers.”
Cramer turns his focus to the value of “looking the part”…
Cramer: “If you make people look good it makes them more confident. It can’t be dismissed what you’re doing (providing free custom suits to veterans).”
Ballay: “Our business is about creating pride. We want someone to feel empowered, to get that confidence, to get that swagger. That is the direct result, a lot of times, of how you look and how you feel in your clothes, your attire.”
Cramer: “I wish I had jobs. I’d hire every one of you guys.”