September 12, 2013
By Julie Montanaro
Stats released just last week - show the unemployment rate among post 9-11 veterans is substantially higher than the rest of the population.
A group of Tallahassee veterans is not only taking aim at that stat, it's trying to give veteran owned businesses a better shot at success.
Ben Vasilinda started his landscaping business, Precision Cut Landscaping, seven years ago after serving 10 years in the U.S. Army.
He hires other veterans to help when he can and he says the people who hire him often ask about his military service.
"If its for a big job, they'll look up your past. And it's one of the first things they'll call me back on, they'll tell me Hey, we looked at you and a couple of other contracts and you guys were close and I noticed you were a vet. And they're like you know, we're going to hire you," Vasilinda said,
A group of Tallahassee veterans is launching a web site ... that's sort of like the Craig's list for vets. It's called Patriotic Partners of North Florida.
It offers veteran owned businesses a chance to showcase what they do.
"People out there, they need to know that they can hire a hero. They n
eed to know that they can hire businesses that are veteran friendly," Patriotic Partner Kris Dunn said.
"There may be people out there that want to support veteran businesses, but how do they find them? Up until now they don't have a way but now they do with Patriotic Partners.net," Patriotic Partner Matt Willard said.
The non-profit hopes to provide a local connection - that not only puts customers in touch with vet-owned businesses - but puts vets looking for work in touch with business owners inclined to hire them.
"On 9/11, we had a large group of men and women that raised their hand and said I'm going to take that call, I'm gonna go and serve our country. And now they're coming back and they're not going to be employed," Patriotic Partner Thomas Dickens said.
The vets behind it - who have served in Desert Storm, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan - are hoping this helps soldiers transitioning back into civilian life and can trim an unemployment rate among post 9-11 vets that's well above the rest.
The web site patriotic partners.net went on line yesterday September 11th. 15 people have already signed up.