One year ago this month, National Able Network began talking with John Fakhoury, President and Chief Executive Officer of Framework Communications, about a possible partnership between his telecom and networking support company and the workforce services at National Able Network. Brought together by a mutual awareness of the value of veterans in the workplace, the two businesses began collaborating at the end of summer 2014 and have since seen six individuals go through a program in which National Able Network provides job training and Framework Communications provides actual scenarios in which to use those skills. Much more than a goodwill effort toward veterans, as Fakhoury is quick to point out, this partnership is a clear demonstration of the business case for hiring the highly qualified, dependable individuals who have served in America’s military.
“There’s got to be an understanding that this isn’t charity,” Fakhoury emphasized in a recent interview. “These guys or girls [who have served in the military] are trained in a way you couldn’t possibly train in a small business or corporate setting. They’re disciplined, reliable … and have great problem-solving skills that are really useful in almost any kind of cross section of skills or employment. It’s actually really lucrative [for businesses], and these individuals make great employees. I’m in the business of delivering great services, and it’s really helpful to have employees doing that!”
The way the partnership between National Able Network and Framework Communications works is that National Able Network provides the kind of training and resources to unemployed individuals and veterans that empowers them to essentially be invaluable employees. Through extensive training that involves classes, curriculum and fundamentals, individuals emerge needing only the actual scenarios in which they can apply their new skills. That’s where a partnership like the one with Framework Communications comes into play.
“[National Able Network] is looking to employ people, and we happen to need the skills the [freshly trained National Able Network program participants] have,” Fakhoury said. “We’re providing employment and creating real jobs. So we’re helping each other.”
Rodrigo Garcia, National Chairman of the Board of Directors for Student Veterans of America and former director of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, worked with John and his company to get them certified as a workplace that would be able to provide GI Bill benefits for on-the-job training. Today, he says, “I have seen the type of commitment and dedication that John and his team have put forth not only to commemorate the sacrifice of our armed forces, but, more importantly, to determine that these folks that are coming home to add to the bottom line. They are profit generators themselves … It’s imperative that we make investments in HR and these people because they’re driving our economy.”
While Fakhoury, who was a senior in high school on 9/11 and saw a number of his peers join the military immediately after graduation, has long been a proponent of the value of hiring veterans, he emphasizes that the training National Able Network provides is another great asset that provides necessary job-skills training. “This is something that a lot of other business could latch onto,” he said.
Len Harris, Veterans Program Director at National Able Network and Retired Army, agrees: “There is a strong business case for hiring veterans. Their leadership and teamwork skills, and their ability to adapt to dynamic working environments, make them a great asset for any company. More important, studies show that veterans as a whole outperform non-veterans, and have higher retention rates … both of which benefit the bottom line. At National Able Network, we work to connect veterans-in-transition with those employers who recognize their value. We bring them to the door, and our partner companies open that door and invite them in.”
“Framework has realized that returning warriors are great for business because they not only add to the bottom line by bringing in tech capabilities — whether working on satellites, airplanes or electronics — but also through soft skills like accountability, understanding how to work in a team, innovation, creativity, being dependable, all of which are necessary to be successful in today’s entrepreneurial America,” Garcia said.
John Fakhoury is the President and CEO of Framework Communications, an industry leading single-source managed IT & telecommunication firm located in Chicago. John founded the company with the idea that technology had to be more approachable and user-friendly for businesses.
(Photo: President & CEO of Framework Communications, John Fakhoury, is seated second to right. Next to him is David Viktora, a past National Able Network client, who is now employed at Framework Communications. This photo was taken during an employer panel at National Able Network’s 37th Annual Meeting on October 30, 2014.)