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Part 3: The Restoration of Service-Disabled Veterans

Posted: December 17, 2020

In a conclusion of our three-part series, Bancroft Capital Founder & CEO, Cauldon D. Quinn, shares his perspective on the importance of the restoration of service-disabled veterans and how the firm has committed to this initiative every day.

On March 4, 1865, President Lincoln provided one of the most solemn and timely of messages in his second inaugural address. In the closing statement of that speech, President Lincoln called for the care and support of its military service members, north and south.

“to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan”

-Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Speech March 4, 1865

President Lincoln was a prudent and calculated orator. He knew the country’s eye was upon him, and the enemy, battered and beaten, was still lingering in the darkness waiting for a toehold from which an attack on peace could be made. Lincoln knew that for the country to be whole, for healing to occur, it needed to care for those who had paid the grievous price of peace.

With humility, I contend that Lincoln’s concern of “him who shall have borne the battle” was not only for the widowed but the wounded of spirit and flesh. What Lincoln was advocating for was the restoration of a country that had been torn down to its seam and whose only hope of recovery had to include the dignity of those military service members who were now unknown by the very people they had fought to protect. For restoration to occur, it needed to first take place at the most visible manifestation of the country’s wounds, the re-establishment of its patriots into the void of leadership left untended during the war – society, business, and the family unit.

Jobs vs. Careers

Our country’s objective for its military service member transitioning into a civilian career should NOT be the temporal existence of a job but the attainment of a skill set that will last the life of several jobs, tantamount to a career.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines job as “a piece of work” while career is defined as “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling”. A job is temporary; sustained only so long as its provider chooses and often influenced by external forces beyond its owner’s control. A job is singular; it provides no assurance of progression or optionality. Conversely, a career is perpetual and plural, terminated only by its owner and sustained through the life of several jobs. A career can adapt, adjusting to meet the demands of external forces and providing security to its owner.

Bancroft Capital is committed to the restoration of service-disabled veterans. Pictured here: the firm’s 2019 class of Veteran Training Program Candidates, Jeffery P. Barret, Christopher J. Nicholas, and Angela Mathis

Skills lead to careers

How is this best achieved? In practical terms, what steps must be taken by corporate American to ensure a fundamental shift in the veteran narrative from ‘jobs for vets’ to ‘careers for veterans’? I would not propose to possess the singular solution to this complicated issue but instead anecdotally share my response.

For me, intent was codified in a near death incident in Afghanistan. My life had been spared and I could find no earthly reason why; enter wisdom. I realized that I did not die that day because God was not done with me and that I was to serve a cause greater than my own lustful desires with my life. The pursuit of my professional career has been the ‘greater cause’ which He presented nearly ten years ago – the training, employment and restoration of disabled veterans. This is my intent. How to?

I have the great honor and sacred responsibility of providing leadership to Bancroft Capital, LLC. Comprised of some of the most impressive individuals my industry has ever known, we, as a firm, have made the commitment to facilitate a formal Veteran Training Program with a three-pronged approach to ‘careers for vets.’

  1. Bancroft goes into the hospitals, recovery centers, and base transition programs to expand the military service member’s universe of possibility prior to separation. We host Transition Seminars in which we introduce them to the world of institutional brokerage and investment banking and present careers in this field as a viable pathway for their future civilian life.
  2. Second, it is my personal experience that military life is structured and process driven. Learning in the military is achieved academically but confidence in one’s ability to harness newly acquired knowledge occurs through on-the-job training. Military folks learn by doing. Such is the structure of our 12-month Veteran Training Program (VTP). VTP Candidates are partnered with industry veterans as they rotate through the five business units Bancroft operates. They work alongside the industry veteran to service our customers and support the firm’s operation. Our VTP Candidates learn by doing and carry with them, at the conclusion of our training program, the beginning of a skill set that will last the life of a career.
  3. Third, if one is to change one’s life it must be done with the empowerment of knowledge. For our military service members to matriculate into successful civilian careers, this critical path, most assuredly, includes the time and cost a 4-year degree, if not a post graduate degree. For the majority with substantial military careers, especially the enlisted ranks which represent the backbone of our military, dedicating 4 to 6 years is not an option. They need to provide for their families. The challenge facing our retiring military service members is not academic aptitude, as some may presume, but an obligation to provide for a partner and children entering the most financially demanding stages of family life.

Most military service members have completed several years of academic rigor in technically demanding fields such as nuclear power, aviation, and cyber warfare. Unfortunately, it is exceedingly rare for those military schools to count toward an accredited degree. Bancroft has been able to champion this cause with two willing and forward-thinking institutions of higher learning, DeSales University and Villanova University. In a partnership with these institutions, our VTP Candidates are able to participate in business school classes, gain access to a four-year degree and, when academic aptitude can be established, enroll directly into an MBA program without the required undergraduate degree. In short, with the thoughtful structures provided by our academic partners, our VTP Candidates are able to achieve the necessary academic accomplishments to change the course of their lives.

The need for the restoration of our country’s military service member is as great today as on that hallowed day in 1865. It is in the interest of these United States of America, the greatest nation on earth, conceived as a bastion of hope to the rest of the world, a shining city on the hill, to restore service members to their rightful place of leadership in society, our communities, but, most of all, as providers to their own families.