As his military retirement date drew near, instead of becoming excited, Jesse Yandell became anxious. The military had been his only career and he was used to the structure the military brought to his life. How was he going to transition to civilian life, which to him seemed so chaotic? His answer came in the form of American Dream U, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members of the military get the education and access to resources they need to find their dream job or start a business of their own.
American Dream U has been answering the call and bridging the gap between military and civilian life since 2013, and now, national financial services firm Advisors Excel has joined the effort. The company, which offers a wide spectrum of services and support to independent financial professionals, has pledged $250,000 over the next two years to start a new initiative through American Dream U to help place newly inactive military members in careers in the financial services industry.
“We were very excited to be able to partner with American Dream U,” said Cody Foster, co-founder of Advisors Excel. “The members of our military have given the very best of themselves in their service to keep our country safe and it’s our feeling that they deserve the very best in return. Beyond that, those who have served bring a high level of discipline, integrity and commitment to serving others, which are critical to a career in financial services. We would love to see those who are leaving the military consider a career in the financial services industry.”
American Dream U was the perfect partner to help open the door to a financial services career to members of the military and their families, Foster said. The organization provides active military, veterans and their spouses access to tools to help make the transition to civilian life, including an online education program, professional development counseling, a transition book highlighting veteran success stories, a start-up accelerator program, quarterly live events and monthly meet-ups on bases across the country. American Dream U helped Yandell, a 14-year Army combat veteran, successfully launch his own business, Uncommon Human, a human resources consultancy group dedicated to tackling business transitions.
“This program has given me the confidence and desire to start a new amazing chapter in my life,” said Yandell, U.S. Army Retired. “My future will be so much greater than my past. I now have the skills required to chase both my purpose and passion, I will not have to settle for a position, instead I will pursue the job that is the right fit for me. American Dream U assisted me in creating a robust network, finding a mentor and provided me the tools to reach my desired end state.”
Yandell is just one of nearly 20,000 military members transitioning out of the armed forces every month. It’s estimated that a total of 220,000 military members will make that transition in 2016 alone. Many of them will have families to support, making the fear of an unknown future even more real. Phil Randazzo, founder of American Dream U, is committed to helping alleviate that fear for service men and women, who he says bring a highly desirable mix of character traits and skills to the job market.
“Those who have served in our armed forces have all the qualities that make them outstanding employees and business owners,” Randazzo said. “They can take direction, but are also quick on their feet; they can problem solve and bring a high level of intelligence, discipline, loyalty and ethics to whatever they do.”
He believes success stories like Yandell’s are possible when companies like Advisors Excel get behind an organization like American Dream U.
“With Advisors Excel’s generous pledge of $250,000, we are excited to add a new financial service education initiative to the arsenal of tools we employ to help transition military, veterans and their families to civilian life,” Randazzo said.