In a recruitment effort called UberMILITARY, the high-flying global car service company is aiming to hire 50,000 veterans in the next 18 months. Uber has recruited former general Stanley McChrystal and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates to help with the effort. Unemployment is a major problem among war veterans. And despite the military’s promises about learning valuable skills on the job, it’s estimated that–of those who are employed–over a million veterans currently work for or near minimum wage.
The pitch from Uber recruiters is basically a franchise pitch. If you have a car, you use that–if not Uber will help get you a loan to buy a car. Uber will deliver fare opportunities to the drivers and take a 25% cut of the earnings. Uber drivers pay for gas, insurance, the car, the smart phone, and all expenses. They aren’t employees. Uber may be using its veterans recruitment mainly as PR, but the fact is the company needs drivers and veterans represent a large pool of unemployed workers with a history of showing up for work on time. It’s a natural for the company. And the idea is that it beats unemployment for veterans, even if it’s not ideal.