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October 23, 2013
By Mark Brighton

Two of the most difficult challenges faced by federal, state and local officials in the veterans community have been homelessness and employment. While organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs have established several progressive strategies to help veterans find homes and work, the private sector is also throwing its hat into the ring.

CBS News recently reported that one brewery in Chicago, Ill., is aiming to only hire employee veterans throughout the entirety of its operations, while the owner aptly named this organization the Veteran Beer Company. When looking at unemployment rates in different demographics, several unsettling facts begin to surface, as the source noted that 88 percent of veterans do not have jobs.

Although the general population has been buckled at the knees because of the nationwide 7.2 percent unemployment rate, the veteran demographic is among the most adversely affected. According to the news provider, Paul Jenkins, the CEO and founder of the Veteran Beer Company, is hoping that he can make a big difference in the city by successfully employing more individuals, and thus putting former military members back to work.

"So rather than sit around and let others solve the problem for us, why not start our own company and figure out how to employ as many veterans as quickly as possible," Jenkins told CBS News. "So the concept behind the Veteran Beer Company is that we will produce the finest beer in America - brewed by, the recipes written by, bottled by, sold by veterans. Everybody in the organization is to be a veteran."

Veterans who are interested in starting their own businesses should consider referencing the International Franchise Association, as well as the Small Business Administration. These organizations have a variety of programs in play that specifically help veteran entrepreneurs start and manage their new companies.