WASHINGTON (Press Release – Dec. 19, 2011) – With nationwide veteran unemployment rates climbing as high as 30 percent, the International Franchise Association (IFA) today announced it is inviting U.S. veterans and military spouses to attend the Franchise Expo South in Miami and the 2012 IFA Convention in Orlando free of charge as part of “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” a campaign including the industry’s more than 825,000 franchise establishments, which support nearly 18 million jobs, to hire as team members and recruit as franchise business owners 75,000 veterans and 5,000 wounded warriors by 2014.
At the IFA’s Franchise Expo South January 20-22 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, veterans and military spouses will meet franchise leaders and learn more about opportunities at hundreds of franchise brands. The Franchise Expo South is the premier franchise expo serving the Southeastern U.S.
At the 2012 IFA Convention, U.S. veterans and military spouses will be invited to visit franchise exhibitors and attend the IFA’s VetFran and Lender reception Sunday, Feb. 12 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at the Orlando World Center Marriott as well as attend a General Session on the IFA’s Operation Enduring Opportunity on Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 8:00 to 10:00 am free of charge. The normal non-member cost to attend is $500. For the first time, IFA VetFran member companies will have the opportunity to display their support of veterans with a special “VetFran Blue Ribbon” exhibitor package which will raise funds for the landmark strategic initiative.
Also for the first time, the Convention will include a “VetFran Pavillion” where attendees will find suppliers of tools and solutions to support veteran hiring and recruiting efforts. VetFran member companies may also choose to exhibit in the VetFran Pavillion for a fee which will support the veteran transition campaign.
The “Panel of the Pros” general session at the Convention on Feb. 14 will feature franchise business leaders including Mary Kennedy Thompson (USMC, Ret.), President of Mr. Rooter and VetFran Committee Chair, Greg Tanner, VP of Franchising, Aaron’s, Stuart Mathis, President of The UPS Store®, as well as SSG Shilo Harris (U.S. Army, Ret.), a wounded warrior. The panel will be moderated by IFA Second Vice Chair Steve Romaniello, Managing Director of Roark Capital Group.
IFA will recognize companies that have recruited the most veterans in the franchise industry. Additionally, White House Joining Forces, Veterans Administration, and Department of Defense officials will attend the IFA Convention for the first time.
“As tens of thousands of service men and women return from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Southwest Asia, expanded opportunities are needed to ensure veterans and their families are able to transition into the civilian economy. With its rapid training, defined structure and systems, and need for operational excellence, franchising provides an ideal opportunity to enable returning veterans to become leaders of and productive participants in the U.S. economy,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “Our franchise businesses, including franchisors and franchisees, are answering the call to offer career opportunities to veterans, wounded warriors and their families. Not only is this critical for the economic and social stability of veterans and their families, but it is important to the U.S. economy.”
Veterans have a proven track record of success in franchising. According to a recent study based on U.S. Census data, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise establishments in the United States, providing jobs directly for 815,000 Americans. Over 2,100 veterans have become franchise business owners through the IFA’s VetFran program, originally established in 1991, and subsequently revamped after 9/11. Responding now to veteran unemployment rates of 11.7 percent (30 percent for veterans under 25 years old), IFA launched Operation Enduring Opportunity in November to offer returning veterans career paths in franchising including employment and ownership on a broader scale.
VetFran, a strategic initiative of the IFA, was developed from an idea of the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of the Dwyer Group, who understood that the skills and operational excellence learned through military service translated into owning and running successful franchise businesses.
To learn more about about IFA’s VetFran program, please visit VetFran.com
About the International Franchise Association
The International Franchise Association is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising. Through its media awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the economic impact of the more than 825,000 franchise establishments, which support nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic output for the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.