Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters in America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Narrated by J.R. Martinez and re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.
The unemployment rate among veterans is 5% higher than last year, but initiatives in hopes of changing that are giving vets an opportunity to own their businesses through the franchising industry.
As more U.S. military members return from overseas deployments, they're trying to decide what's next. Thousands are going to school on the GI Bill and others are looking for new careers.
Some vets are finding opportunities through VetFran, which has helped more than 2,100 vets since the 1990s. Even some who lack business experience are opening franchises - and taking advantage of programs that reduce the cost to do so.
UPS, for example, waived the near $30,000 franchising fee for 10 veterans. The franchisees still have to finance their own ventures, but UPS is guiding them on how to maintain and operate businesses on their own.