For many veterans, transitioning from the military to civilian life can be hard -- but one non-profit is working to make the switch to the corporate world easier through a mentor-match program.
Sid Goodfriend, the chairman and founder of American Corporate Partners, said he based the program on Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America -- “Except in this case the little brother might be a 250-pound Marine sergeant."
ACP currently has more than 3,000 vets in the program, and pairs each one with a mentor for at least one year at a major corporation – from PepsiCo to Fox News Channel’s parent company, 21st Century Fox.
The average starting salary is about $80,000.
“Many of our mentors feel they get more out of this than they give, and out of the 12,000 veterans that have completed the program, I don’t believe any would view ACP as a charity,” Goodfriend told Fox News. “It’s Americans helping other Americans.”
And with almost 200,000 current military members expected to leave in the next 12 months, Goodfriend said ACP is looking for even more mentors, especially in the ACP Citizens Program, which enables mentors to participate from smaller companies outside of their typical corporate partners. The Citizens Program is geared towards finding mentors who are retirees or individuals in fields such as real estate, small business and law enforcement, who can give their time and expertise back to the men and women who served this country.
“Just about every day, we hear of a situation where a veteran has appreciated a mentor for his or her participation in the program,” Goodfriend said.
The organization is intended to appeal to a diverse range of applicants, Goodfriend said, from a 25-year-old female sailor in Virginia who wants to own a gym friendly to veterans with PTSD to a 40-year-old officer who wants to join the private sector working in cybersecurity.
"No matter where you’re coming from or where you want to go, We can find you a civilian mentor in the industry you want to go into who can help get you there,” said Tim Cochrane, president of the ACP Citizens Program.