A former local Navy SEAL is launching a business called "Tactical Nannies," with the aim of hiring, training and deploying female veterans to affluent families who need help with child care.
And if the families request it, said company owner Jonathan Gilliam, the nannies could be armed.
"If a family wants somebody armed, we can certainly train them for that," Gilliam said. "And these are the ones you’d want to train to do that."
Gilliam said female veterans have the kinds of skills nannies need, like keeping a schedule, solving problems, and handling a crisis.
"These are people who are tried, and true and trained,"
The idea makes sense to Lyndsay Westby-Gibson, of Virginia Beach. She recently left the Navy as a lieutenant. Now she's a working mother.
"Finding a nanny, I feel like you just sort of have to roll the dice and hope for the best.," she said. "And that’s definitely not where you want to be gambling, with the safety and well being of your children."
The idea of a veteran as a nanny appeals to Westby-Gibson for a couple of reasons. She was lucky to land a job after the Navy, but she knows other veterans have not been as fortunate.
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"As a veteran, it is very difficult to find a job because there are so many of us getting out," she said. "The economy is not the best at the current time."
And knowing a nanny would be a problem-solving veteran with a background check, that would give any mother piece of mind, she says.
"You know they’ve been vetted. You know they have experience dealing with crisis," she said. "You know they have been given a tremendous amount of responsibility and they can be trusted."
Gilliam's idea is part of his larger company called United States Continued Service. It's a company that pairs the skills of veterans with private-sector employers. The Tactical Nannies company is being developed around a Miami woman Gilliam recently met who, like many veterans, struggled to find work.
"When you tell them you are a veteran, they’re like, oh we would love to hire you because you are a veteran, but you don’t have the degree that we want you to have," said Melissa Fraga, who served in the Army Reserve. In the Army, she handled human resources, but could not get a similar job outside the military.
"A lot of the places I tried to apply for they actually told me no because I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree in HR," she said.
So Gilliam is using her as the prototype for a Tactical Nanny.
"I think it is an awesome opportunity to be able to use not only my military experience, but also my personal life experience," she said.
Gilliam, living in New York, said families there might pay as much as $100,000 a year for a competent nanny like the kind of veterans he's training.
"They are definitely deserving of that," he said. "They are qualified for it. And I don’t think you are going to get a better product."
For more information on Tactical Nannies and Gilliam's other efforts to get veterans jobs, go to www.continuedservice.com.