Back in September 2014, we launched UberMILITARY with a promise to give servicemembers, veterans, and military spouses an opportunity to earn a flexible income by driving with Uber. Today I am proud to announce that more than 50,000 members of the military community have signed up as drivers and nearly half have already driven. We’re now focused on getting more folks on the road, and finding ways we can do more for veterans and their families.
To mark this milestone, Uber is donating $1M on behalf of our UberMILITARY Advisory Board to organizations that support veterans and military families. These include the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and Homes for our Troops.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve crisscrossed the country to hear the stories of servicemembers and veterans. Everywhere we go, they tell us that they want opportunities to make money on their own terms and set their own schedules. We’re thrilled to be able to give more servicemembers and veterans the on-demand work opportunities they’ve been asking for.
That includes people like Robert Isaac Jr., who served in the Marine Corps for five years in countries including Kuwait, Iraq, and Jordan.
“Uber is perfect for someone who doesn’t necessarily have an exact re-entry plan back into civilian life and needs a flexible way to make money during that transition period,” he says. He says his service often comes up when he drives. “Riders are pretty curious to hear more, and I like talking about it. I am proud of what I did and who I served.”
These stories continue to inspire me. Early on in my career, I served as a special assistant to our Secretary of Defense at the time, Dr. Robert Gates. I was deeply moved by the tremendous skill and ability of our servicemembers, and frustrated when I heard about the challenges they face when returning to civilian life. We launched UberMILITARY because we knew that enlisting the skills of these men and women was one of the best business decisions we could make. I’m honored that Dr. Gates agreed to lead our UberMILITARY Advisory Board, which represents all four major branches of the armed services and military families.
“I am very passionate about veterans and particularly those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan having opportunities when they leave the military. And I am especially passionate about veterans having choices. For some, going to work on Wall Street or working in retail is a great idea, but others going to school or with family obligations, for example, need flexibility and might want to be their own boss and an entrepreneur. That is where Uber comes in,” said Gates.
“Driving with Uber is an incredible opportunity. It provides flexibility and allows veterans to pursue the American dream, be it furthering education, pursuing certification or starting a small business. It’s a tremendous platform for those transitioning from the military,” said Admiral Michael Mullen, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007-2011 and now sits on UberMILITARY’s Advisory Board.
We’re 18 months into our program, and there is a lot more work to do. Based on feedback from the military community, we have several priorities moving forward:
- $500 million to drivers who have worked or still work in the military by 2020: Today we are setting our next goal–helping drivers from UberMILITARY to take home half a billion dollars by 2020 as we continue to sign up more people and get them out on the road.
- Increasing access to reliable transportation for military communities and reducing alcohol-related incidents on and around military installations. To make transportation more accessible around military installations, we want to work with base commanders to pilot a program that would allow drivers to earn more when they start or end a trip at a military base. We’re also talking to the Department of Defense about other ways we can work together to encourage more people to drive with Uber in these areas. By expanding access to reliable rides at the push of a button, we hope to see a reduction in alcohol-related incidents in military communities. To achieve that goal, we will work with our partner Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) on safety education programs.
- Making Uber even more rewarding for drivers who come from the military. According to a recent survey of drivers in the program, the top reason they sign up with Uber is to earn money as a secondary source of income. And when they choose Uber to do it, we want to make it as rewarding for them as possible, with perks and rewards for them and their families. We will build a special savings program – like our existing savings program – that offers expanded and unique rewards specifically for members of the UberMILITARY community.
We believe programs like these can make a big difference in the lives of veterans and their families. And we’re only just getting started. If you’re interested in driving as part of the UberMILITARY program, you can sign up here.