FLG Selected as Hiring Our Heroes Capital One Small Business Award Winner

Hiring Our Heroes Honors Former Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald  
U.S. Chamber Foundation Recognizes Outstanding Employers at Annual Gala

“On behalf of Freedom Learning Group and our founders Stacey and Nathan Ecelbarger, it is a great honor to accept the ‘Capital One Small Business Award.’ As a small business, FLG is as dedicated to placing Military Spouses in remote economic empowerment opportunities as any large corporation. To date, FLG has paid over $6.8 million to Military Spouses & Veterans for their subject matter expertise and contributions to educational courseware projects. FLG is validation that a small business can be a key piece to the solution for the path to economic opportunity.”

— Elizabeth O’Brien, CEO, Freedom Learning Group

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes recognized individuals and organizations who have demonstrated leadership in addressing the challenges faced by veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses in their search for employment, at its 11th Annual Lee Anderson Hiring Our Heroes Awards Gala, presented by USAA.  

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald was presented with the 2021 President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. As the 8th Secretary of Veterans Affairs, McDonald focused on putting the needs and interests of veterans and their families first. Today, he continues to advocate for challenges facing transitioning service members and their families and is dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential.  

Referencing President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech, McDonald told the audience he is not done working to make the world a better place.  

“If we want to maintain this fragile experiment called a democracy, we need to do more. We need to never leave the arena; we need to make sure we tell the critic who is outside the arena to get in with us, and we all need to collectively make sure we keep fighting because we can’t stop. This is too important,” McDonald said.  

While the veteran unemployment rate (4%) has rebounded to below national levels, veterans are more likely to be underemployed than their non-veteran peers. Additionally, 44% of hired veterans leave their job within their first year of transitioning out of the military. Veterans are working, but not in the careers that match their unique skillsets. 

“Nothing seems to be easy anymore, but we keep moving forward to accomplish the mission and work for a better day. It’s what we do as members of the military community. It’s what we do as part of the business community, and it’s what we do at Hiring Our Heroes and what we have been doing over the last two years,” said Eric Eversole, president of Hiring Our Heroes.   

Hiring Our Heroes presented awards in six additional categories: Individual Excellence in Veteran Employment; Military Community Nonprofit Leadership; Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring; Post 9/11 Veteran Employment; Small Business; and Veteran and Military Spouse Employment. 

Colonel Michael Endres Leadership Award for Individual Excellence in Veteran Employment was presented to Laura Schmiegel, Booz Allen Hamilton. The award is for an individual who has gone above and beyond to make a difference in employment opportunities for veterans, transitioning service members, and spouses. 

Lee Anderson Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award was presented to Comcast NBCUniversal for overall excellence in hiring and retaining veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses. 

Military Community Nonprofit Leadership Award, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, for demonstrated commitment to supporting veteran and military spouse employment and economic opportunity was awarded to Student Veterans of America. 

Steve Robinson Post-9/11 Veteran Employment Award, presented by Prudential Financial, was awarded to Verizon for effective and sustained efforts to enhance the ability of post-9/11 veterans and transitioning service members to find meaningful employment was awarded to  

Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring Award, presented by USAA, for demonstrated leadership and commitment to hire military spouses and empower them as they search for meaningful careers was awarded to Salesforce.  

Capital One Small Business Award was awarded to Freedom Learning Group, a military family-founded small business dedicated to employing veterans and military spouses.   
About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.
About Hiring Our Heroes
Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) is a 501(c)3 organization under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The non-profit launched in March 2011 as a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through its comprehensive training and hiring events, fellowship programs, and online tools. HOH programs and services are available in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and on military installations around the world. For more information on programming and initiatives: HiringOurHeroes.org; @HiringOurHeroes on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram