Fitness Training is "one of the 30 fastest growing job markets ideal for veterans and transitioning service members." - Bureau of Labor Statistics
In a booming wellness industry, nearing $1 trillion, Veterans Fitness Career College is a social-venture owned and operated by veterans who are seasoned fitness leaders focused on serving our armed forces community of active duty military, guardsmen, reservists, veterans and their dependents, as well as the general public by providing fitness education, career connections, resources, and networking.
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Veterans are career-oriented and looking to start a full time career.
Veterans are solution-oriented professionals who have spent four or more years in the military focused on completing a mission, sometimes in spite of difficult personnel, faulty equipment or serious time constraints.
Veterans are experienced team leaders who have already managed groups of other professionals, written performance appraisals, set developmental goals, managed training programs, and spent time reinforcing the goals of the organization to improve individual performance.
Veterans are courageously decisive. Veterans are often invovled with major decision making that involves reasonable risk. These experiences have helped them learn to trust their instincts, as well as their training, when big decisions must be made.
Veterans are accountable. Regardless of task importance, accountability is forged into the mind of every veteran. In fact, many veterans have been accountable for projects involving tens of millions of dollars in value. These veterans are conditioned to consider all aspects of organizational goals – direct and indirect.
Veterans are flexible and adaptable. Military work experience is the most challenging of jobs. Quick and frequent relocations are standard, and members learn quickly the importance of flexibility – accepting changes necessary to fulfill their assigned mission.
Veterans are back ground checked and they've all had frequent random drug testing, annual dental exams and complete health assessments every 5 years.
Finally, most veterans are of the ideal age and are in great shape. The majority of transitioning veterans are in their youth around 22-30 years old and they look the part. They are often very fit due to the extensive military training and weight management standards.
Employment Solutions in Fitness for Veterans
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Fitness Training, within a booming wellness industry nearing $1 Trillion, is "one of the 30 fastest growing jobs markets...ideal for veterans and transitioning service members."
According to current veteran statistics we have over 1.4 million active military personnel along with the 1.1 million military members who currently serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. In addition to these 2.5 million military members, we have over 22.5 million veterans. That’s over 25 million Americans who have served or is currently serving in the Armed Services—that’s about 1 out of every 9 Americans "who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount of up to, and including his/her life" (American Legion Post 4, 2011).
According to a 2008 Department of Veterans Affairs report, 4.4 million of our veterans have been discharged since 1990—two million of which served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In addition to these staggering numbers another 39,000 just recently came home from Iraq along with another 10,000 from Afghanistan which should be followed by another 23,000 in the summer of 2012.
With so many veterans returning home in the last few years, we are seeing historic unemployment numbers with veterans. In 2010, the unemployment rate for veterans was already almost a full percentage higher than non-veterans. By July of 2011, as the Iraq and Afghani-era veterans returned home, unemployment increased to a record 12.4%.
Transitioning out of the military is difficult enough as it is; add to this that veterans are now struggling to find any kind of employment—let alone an enjoyable and financially rewarding employment opportunity. In 2007, those veterans who did find jobs were earning less than $22,000 a year.
Veterans are in need of a sustainable and rewarding career option where they can support themselves and their families. As a viable career option many veterans have chosen to pursue a career in fitness.
With a recent rise in salary rates for fitness professionals, many veterans are finding opportunities to make twice the salary of what they could make in other career fields (i.e. $53,000 on average).
In fact, Fitness Trainers who develop their business and sales skills commonly move on to become Fitness Managers and Gym Owners who will often make 2- 3 times this amount earning incomes from $100,000 - $150,000.
VETERAN FRIENDLY EMPLOYERS???
With historic unemployment rates among our veterans, it’s encouraging to know that many organizations (in and out of the fitness industry) are becoming more aware of the value of hiring a veteran. This growing awareness has motivated many organizations to improve their efforts towards recruiting veterans and invest into marketing plans to recruit veterans. While this is good news for veterans, VFC College feels that fitness organizations should be able to do more than just hire veterans; we want them to help veterans be successful in their career.
In the past, there are has been a few annually published rankings of veteran friendly employers (e.g. “Top 100 Military Friendly Employers”). However, less than 5% of these rankings are based on “retention efforts”. And, there is ZERO expectation or evaluation on how well these organizations are helping veterans be successful in their new career with these organizations. In fact, these rankings are not even coming from fitness industry experts and they are mostly (approx. 60-70%) based on an organization’s “assets dedicated to hiring military” veterans and the “percentage of new veteran hires”.
These current ranking systems only tell you which organizations are making the largest investment to hire veterans; they are not telling you who are making the greatest effort to help veterans with retention and accommodation programs. Therefore, ranking organizations as “veteran friendly” through these old methods makes as much sense as ranking the “Top 100 Customer Friendly Organizations” by how much they invest in marketing to their customers--not on how much they invest in serving their customers. Clearly, that would be ridiculous, and so is this method for ranking a veteran friendly employer.
Seeking to create viable careers for veterans in the fitness industry, VFC College has set and continues to advocate for a new standard, the “Golden Standard,” for a Veteran Friendly Fitness Organization (VFFO).
Fitness companies can now be recognized by VFCC as Certified "VFFO" if they are willing to hire and reasonably provide negotiable accommodations for veteran employees (as well as veteran customers). As the advocate for veterans in the fitness industry, we negotiate individually with each organization for accommodations such as:
At the end of these negotiations, fitness organizations are categorized as either a "CERTIFIED VFFO" or a "verified VFFO".
As one example of our CERTIFIED VFFOs, we can look at companies like Gold's Gym International (GGI), championed by Tim Keightley, Vice President of Fitness for GGI who eagerly jumped on board with us at VFC College to provide some of the best job placement employment opportunities to our veteran graduates at their 80 clubs across the US. Tim is now working with VFC College to get the word out to their several hundred franchisees as well.
In addition to GGI, VFC College has also "verified" veteran friendly employment opportunities with over two thousand (2000) locations with our other job placement partners at 24 Hour Fitness, Fitness Together, Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness, EFT Group/Retro Fitness, and many others who will accept our certification and provide our veterans job placement.
Please contact email@example.com for more details on how your organization may become certified and registered in our global registry of Veteran Friendly Fitness Organizations.