Twenty-four vets plunged into the battlefield of primetime television -- the studios of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It was actually one they eagerly signed on for. Jon Stewart has mentored 24 veterans in an eight-week immersion program into the workings of the The Daily Show, involving them in everything from writing to production.
So too are other high-profile CEOs personally taking vets under their wings. Well-known mentors include Alex Gorsky (CEO of J&J), Rupert Murdoch (who has completed three, year- long mentorships and is on his fourth), Peter Grauer (Chairman of Bloomberg), and Doug Oberhelmen (CEO Caterpillar Inc.). Previous mentors include John Mack (Morgan Stanley), Frank Blake (Home Depot) and Doug Conant (Campbell Soup Company). And, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Jon Stewart are doing public service announcements.
The great networker working corporate America is not a company, a CEO, the TED conference or a politician. It is American Corporate Partners.
This six-year-old non-profit connects vets with business professionals for one-on-one mentoring. So far more than 3,000 veterans worked with corporate leaders for a year to mainstream into the civilian workplace. Some are going back to school, some are starting their own businesses, and some have found meaningful employment at companies throughout the country. Others are still looking for jobs, which why ACP is pulling out the stops airing PSAs with Bill Clinton. View it here.
And, Jon Stewart and Sarah Palin even appeared together with this pitch.
I am proud to say I had a role in the launch of this groundbreaking program. In fact, it was Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz who pulled me aside as we were visiting wounded vets back in 2006 with a group of 9/11 widows. "Help me help these vets. Maybe as a 9/11 widow you can help start an adopt- a- vet program in every community." He hit my soft spot. I had visited those soldiers in Iraq back in 2003. Many showed me the pouches of ashes from the World Trade Center they carried in their wallets every day. Not only did 9/11 bind me to these soldiers, but they were the same age as my father, Lt. Richard Ferer who lost his leg at Battle of the Bulge.
I paled at that responsibility, but a friend of a friend who was retiring from Wall Street did not. When I introduced Sid Goodfriend to Wolfowitz, the Pentagon folks and the cause, he jumped in with all limbs and hasn't stopped. Goodfriend, this white collar "dog with a bone" pumped with his energy, his rolodex and with his own funds, founded ACP in 2008. Today 55 corporations support ACP and thousands of vets. The problem is there are tens of thousands more that need help. Employment rates of vets don't show the years they cannot now make up. The don't show the rate of underemployment. Many veterans have had to accept low-wage, dead-end jobs that may pay their bills but don't fully tap their skills or allow them to engage in fulfilling careers.
ACP is connecting corporate America to this work force... check it or log on to http://www.acp-usa.org/