A U.S. Army veteran in Aurora, Colorado, is helping his fellow servicemen learn job skills to get them back on their feet.
Michael Gropper, who is the owner of the Full Battle Rattle Deli food truck, employs veterans to give them the skills they need to re-enter the workforce.
“It’s a program to help you get work, get paid, get housing and get skills to kinda go on from there,” said U.S. Navy veteran Bryan Halsey, who works for the deli.
Gropper spent 13 years teaching after he left the U.S. Army, then started a non-profit called Culinary Arts Boot Camp whose members run the food truck.
He said he got the idea for both ventures when he talked to a homeless veteran at the VA.
“Something needed to be done,” he said. “It’s a shame when you see veterans like that who are struggling and are homeless and they come back. It’s just not right.”
Gropper has also teamed up with ReHire Colorado which is a transitional employment program run by the Colorado Department of Human Services. The program places individuals in a job with the Full Battle Rattle Deli and also pays them a salary.
“It’s 11 weeks in the food truck, where they’ll get a salary, and after 11 weeks we’ll help find them employment in the community,” Gropper said.
In January, the National Alliance to End Homelessness stated that the number of homeless veterans had decreased by 48.4 percent since 2009.
“Significant progress has been made in housing our nation’s homeless veterans. This is due, in large part, to connecting them with rapid re-housing, through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, and permanent supportive housing, through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH),” the website said.
On September 25, Breitbart News reported that veteran unemployment had also decreased drastically, thanks to a strong economy.
The report continued:
Last year, both male and female veterans showed a significantly lower jobless rate than their non-veteran counterparts: 3.5 percent against 3.7 percent for men, and 3 percent versus 4 percent for women. As of 2017, male veterans drew a median of about $51,000 in annual income, versus $40,000 for their civilian counterparts. For women, the salary difference stood at $41,000 over $30,000.
Halsey said the new program is a great opportunity for veterans struggling to find work and added that they need to get more people involved in the effort.
Gropper echoed his statement and said “For so many months, this was just a project. And now it’s become a reality and that means a lot to me. It’s time to make a difference. Time to make a change. This is called a vehicle for change.”
The Full Battle Rattle Deli will be serving food during the Denver Veteran’s Day parade on November ninth, according to BusinessDen.com.