St. Louis-based Edward Jones announced today a first-of-its-kind program for military veterans that features enhanced training and mentoring and also meets federal requirements for on-the-job training under the G.I. Bill.
The Edward Jones program, entitled FORCES, includes tailored training, mentoring and a structured compensation package designed to meet the unique needs of veterans transferring to a civilian career.
Tapping into benefits under the G.I. Bill isn't a requirement of the program, but it is an option for those who qualify. The amount of benefits will be determined by a number of factors including years of service and location of employer. It will be paid directly to the veteran during the initial six months of employment and training with Edward Jones.
Each state will have to approve the program before it can be used. So far, only Missouri, under its State Approving Agency within the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Veterans Education and Training Section, has given approval. Other states are reviewing the program now.
"Edward Jones has a long history of hiring veterans because they make excellent financial advisors," said Jim Weddle, managing partner of Edward Jones.
Currently, more than 11 percent of Edward Jones' financial advisors – more than 1,300 – are veterans. "That's a number we'd like to increase," added Weddle. "The skills and discipline embraced in the military are absolutely transferable to a career as a financial advisor."
The FORCES program is specifically designed for people without a financial services background but possess the skills and qualities that would make a successful Edward Jones advisor.
Those eligible for the program include veterans and qualifying dependents with G.I. Bill entitlement/OJT benefits as well as the non-military population holding advanced degrees such as a legal or medical degree or those with an MBA and who have less than three years of professional work experience.
High unemployment among vets
"The unemployment rates among veterans is an alarming issue," said Chad Schatz, President of the National Association of State Approving Agencies and Director of the Missouri Veterans Education and Training Section and SAA. "It remains a sobering fact that many of those who have served their country return home without a path for gainful employment and a successful career. Edward Jones has developed a unique program to make it easier for veterans to transition to a meaningful and desirable career."
Edward Jones' research has shown that 90 percent of individuals surveyed believe skills gained in the military are transferable to post-military careers and nearly 60 percent believe those skills are specifically applicable to a career as a financial advisor. The survey, conducted by ORC(1) on behalf of Edwards Jones, also found that people favored doing business with a veteran-turned-financial advisor because of their discipline (77 percent), goal-orientation (73 percent) and integrity (72 percent). Six in 10 Americans (61 percent) said they would like to work with a veteran to thank them for their service to the country.