STRASBURG, Colo. -- American businesses are going above and beyond to hire veterans. In a major announcement Tuesday from the White House, their goal to get 100,000 veterans and military spouses hired or trained by the end of the year has been surpassed.
Some 290,000 have gone to work. And businesses have pledged to hire or train another 435,000 in the next five years.
One small business in Strasburg is doing its part to help, one barbecue smoker at a time.
“This is the Pit Barrel Cooker Company, we're in Strasburg, Colorado, and my name is Noah Glanville,” the company’s owner and president told us when we arrived at their production facility Monday.
Glanville is a Navy veteran who, like tens of thousands of other veterans, was looking for something to do when he got out of the service. So he started his own company... turning big drums into barbecue smokers. And business is good.
“This is something that fills a niche, and a lot of people really like it, and the more and more people who experience it absolutely love it,” Glanville said.
With every unit he ships out, he's increasingly becoming a veteran success story. But tens of thousands of others still struggle to find work. The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is above the national average, at 9.2 percent.
But in a small way, Noah's soon hoping to help change that. Right now he only has three employees, but he plans to expand fast. He expects to hire four workers in the next two months - preferably veterans.
“Veterans take the priority for us. If there's a veteran, looking for a job, I'm not going to lie, we put them at the top of the list,” Glanville said.
He says tax credits -- passed by lawmakers -- giving money to small businesses like his that hire unemployed and wounded veterans -- are a big help. President Obama hopes to make those tax credits permanent as part of his 2014 budget.
It's largely because of small businesses like Glanville’s that more than a quarter million veterans and their spouses have found work in just the last two years. And if things go as planned, Noah plans to make that number grow, one barbecue barrel at a time.
“Hopefully one day we keep growing, and we can hire more and more people,” Glanville said.
The White House says businesses like McDonalds, Home Depot and BNSF Railroad have pledged to hire or train more than 400,000 additional veterans and their spouses over the next five years.
Every new job helps, because an estimated one million military members will become civilians in the coming years.
To learn more about the Pit Barrel Cooker Company, click here: http://pitbarrelcooker.com/AlertMe