The mobile app is giving $1 million to a few organizations, including Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors -- a nonprofit that offers support to family members who have lost loved ones while serving -- and Homes for our Troops -- which builds adapted homes for post-9/11 veterans -- the company announced on Thursday.
It launched UberMilitary in September 2014 in order to give former service members an opportunity to earn a “flexible income.” Nearly half of the veterans who have signed up have started driving with the company, and Uber said it’s now focused on “getting more folks on the road.”
Emil Michael, senior vice president, said his own military service helped inform UberMilitary.
He served as a special assistant to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who now leads UberMilitary’s advisory board. Michael felt “frustrated” when he learned of the challenges veterans face reintegrating into society, he wrote in a blog post.
"The thing that was missing was an income-earning opportunity that was extremely flexible," Michael told The Washington Post. "When you come back, maybe you're studying for your next degree, maybe you have medical issues."
The announcement comes at a time when veteran unemployment is on the decline.
The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans dropped to 5.8 percent last year. It was 7.2 percent in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to getting more veterans driving, Uber is working to give them more perks.
The company said it will build a “special” savings program that offers expanded and unique rewards specifically to members of the UberMilitary community.
It hopes to also make its app more accessible to its military passengers.
Uber said it’s looking into launching a program where drivers will earn more when they start or end a trip at a military base.