“Hire Heroes USA is doing important work to ensure that when these veterans return home, they are able to find employment opportunities to support themselves and their families,” says 7-Eleven CEO.
7-Eleven Inc. and a coalition of its franchise owners have partnered with some of their top suppliers, all U.S. brands, to raise money for Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA).
This nonprofit organization offers transition, job search and job placement assistance and services for returning veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, particularly those who have been wounded or disabled during their military service.
Customers can support the effort by purchasing specially marked products during April and May at participating 7-Eleven stores. A portion from the sale of each item will be donated to HHUSA. Tags designating the donation amounts will be featured prominently throughout the store along with a special display of participating products.
Among companies joining in the effort are Nestlé USA, Dr Pepper-Snapple Group, Tropicana Products Inc., Mars Inc., MillerCoors, Kellogg’s and Kraft Foods Inc. To encourage participation, many of the products are being offered at special prices during the two-month campaign.
“None of us can do enough to thank the wonderful American men and women in uniform who have served, and who continue to so selflessly serve, to protect our liberty and freedom,” said 7-Eleven president and CEO Joe DePinto. “From my perspective, there is no higher calling. In many instances, these service members have paid the ultimate price or incurred wounds that will forever alter their lives. Hire Heroes USA is doing important work to ensure that when these veterans return home, they are able to find employment opportunities to support themselves and their families.”
7-Eleven has pledged to fill at least two field consultant positions with qualified vets where available, and company representatives will participate in military-base workshops to discuss employment and franchising opportunities.
As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, Hire Heroes USA’s mission is to offer transition support, job-search assistance and job-placement services to those who have honorably served in all branches of the US military – and to their spouses – to reduce veteran unemployment. HHUSA tries to match career interests, qualifications and transferable skills of veterans with the needs of hiring companies partnering with HHUSA. Veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and/or those who are wounded or disabled, receive priority. Services are provided at no cost to the veteran.
“The transition back into civilian life can be challenging for service men and women, especially those wounded or disabled,” said HHUSA President Brian Stann. “Many young veterans find themselves behind in terms of employment experience and networking in the civilian sector. The services we offer help ease the transition into civilian life and ensure these men and women have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms they fought to preserve.”
The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), an umbrella organization of 7-Eleven U.S. franchisee associations across the country, has pledged its support to HHUSA and will donate the proceeds from its annual golf tournament this July, expected to be as much as $100,000, to the veterans’ assistance organization. Last year, the NCASEF raised $100,000 for Hire Heroes through its Joe Saraceno Golf Tournament.
“7-Eleven franchisees first got involved with the Hire Heroes organization last year and really believe in the importance of its mission,” said NCASEF Chairman Bruce Maples. “So much so, that we recommended this cause to the company to give our customers an opportunity to help many worthy veterans.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor 2010 statistics, veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 have an unemployment rate of 20.9%, and those between 25 and 34, 13.1%. Among the 2.2 million veterans who served in Gulf War-era II (those who have served since 2001), about one in four reported having a service-related disability. Of these, 81% were in the labor force, compared with 86.2% of veterans from this period with no service-related disability.
7-Eleven was named one of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers, a list published annually by G.I. Jobs magazine. The only food retailer included, 7-Eleven ranked third among all retailers on the list. In 2009, the company initiated a military franchise program offering discounted franchisee fees to honorably discharged (either retired or separated) veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.