Dog Tag, Inc. program helps wounded vets become business leaders

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Dog Tag, Inc. helps military veterans with service-connected disabilities, spouses, and caregivers prepare for new civilian careers by providing them with a world-class business administration education as well as a personalized business management rotation. Their flagship operation, Dog Tag Bakery in the heart of Georgetown in Washington D.C. offers a 5-month Fellowship Program involving a seven-course curriculum provided by Georgetown University’s Continuing School of Education and a working rotation in our state-of-the-art Bakery. Our commitment to the veteran community is to replicate our unique and carefully crafted model across the country by partnering with other leading universities in tandem with launching new business ventures for hands-on learning.

There are more than 2.6 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war. For many, their combat does not end when they return home. Our veterans battle injuries and service-related disabilities – both visible and invisible -requiring specialized training and support to ensure their reintegration into the civilian workforce.

This innovative program is working. To date we have provided education and training in a small class, high touch, and high impact environment with three cohorts and 26 Fellows who have experienced 99 cumulative classroom hours and 230 cumulative hours in our business incubator. In 2016 we will operate two cohorts back to back with nine Fellows potentially graduating this spring and another 12 to 14 who will participate in the summer through fall. Our Fellows represent all military branches and ethnicities, range in age from 23 to 50, and have served their country for anywhere from four years to 30 years.

To know one of our graduating Fellows is to understand the success of our program. John Lira was a United States marine for nearly 12 years and served two tours to Iraq in 2003 and 2005. John suffered a traumatic brain injury and loss of hearing from an enemy mortar attack. To this day, he struggles with residual effects of Post Traumatic Stress. After graduating from the University of Texas-San Antonio, John had difficulty navigating the civilian job market. He connected with Dog Tag at a Hiring for Heroes job fair, was admitted into the program, and gained the necessary skills to promote himself, develop a professional network, and understand business management. Today, John is an integral member of the Corporation for National and Community Service with the primary goal of increasing the number of veterans in the AmeriCorps program.

Dog Tag’s significance can be witnessed in every graduate of our program. Dog Tag’s reach can be felt in systemic changes including helping to prevent prolonged unemployment, poverty and homelessness among veterans. Dog Tag’s voice can be heard as we continue to shift the conversation from disabilities to discoveries, from wounds to the workforce – changing families and communities for the better. No veteran who wants to work should be unemployed. Our service men and women have done their duty. It is time our community does our duty. Your support is vital to extending the reach of our programs in order to serve those who have so proudly served our country

Photo courtesy of Dog Tag Bakery

Source: Dog Tag Bakery

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