HomeBensalem TimesSCORE mentor launches small business resource guide tailored to vets

SCORE mentor launches small business resource guide tailored to vets

Norm Phillips is helping veterans find success in post-military life

Phillips. Submitted Photo

Finding a job in a struggling economy can be challenging for individuals in various industries. Add in a return from military service and little or no transferable career skills, and the challenge can be insurmountable. 

SCORE Bucks County mentor Norm Phillips recalled how a client he is mentoring with the local chapter of the national nonprofit organization applied to more than 100 positions and “did not get a single response.” 

Phillips’ client is not alone. Research shows that two-thirds of veterans deem finding suitable employment as the greatest challenge in transitioning to post-military life. 

“Their unemployment and underemployment rates are generally double the population or more,” Phillips said. “I wanted to dig in and understand that more.”

While veterans struggle with finding gainful employment, they soar as small business owners, Phillips discovered. According to research, 80 percent of the 1.7 million veteran-owned business owners consider themselves successful. 

Since joining SCORE eight months ago, Phillips has made it his mission to develop a Veterans Small Business Resource Guide, which will serve as the guiding pathway for mentoring sessions with veterans.

“This is a group that is most deserving,” he said of veterans. “They have made significant personal sacrifices for us, and they deserve better.”

Included in his still-evolving resource guide are SCORE webinars and courses designed specifically for veterans. His research also led him to uncover grants and loans earmarked for veterans, along with veteran certification available through the federal government. About one-third of the guide is applicable for veterans only.

While starting a business presents its own challenges, “the barrier to entry is different,” Phillips said, referring to veterans seeking jobs as an employee.

Phillips, who worked for 47 years in pharmaceutical marketing, including 18 years with Johnson & Johnson before retiring, is currently mentoring five veterans. Now that the resource guide is ready for use, he will be sharing his insights with many more. In addition, a half dozen SCORE Bucks County mentors are veterans interested in supporting this cause.

Phillips is in discussion with veterans organizations, as well as area community colleges and universities, in an effort to offer SCORE’s mentoring services to former military members.

The chapter’s pilot program is also “on the radar” for SCORE chapters regionally and nationally. “If we find that it’s successful, we could share this with other chapters in our region,” Phillips said.

Contact norm.phillips@scorevolunteer.org for more information. To request a mentor, visit score.org/find-mentor

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