Erin Klem  | November 5, 2015

Top Cities for Veterans to Work, Learn, and Start a Business

—Cross-posted from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation blog, Above the Fold—

What are the top cities for veterans to find good work, advance their education, and start a business?

Hiring Our Heroes and USAA have a new set of rankings that should help veterans as they make the transition to civilian life.

The 2015 “Best Places” lists identify the top metro areas for veterans based on 22 different criteria.

USAA and Hiring Our Heroes Commissioned Sperlings BestPlaces and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University to build or provide data for the lists. The four groups measured criteria across 401 major metropolitan areas in the United States.


Tuscaloosa, Ala. came out on top as the best place for veterans to maximize their military education benefits. The University of Alabama is considered one of the best colleges for veterans, according to U.S. News and World Report, and Tuscaloosa has the highest number of Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon recipients.

“Our mission is to make sure every service member leaving the military makes an informed decision about his or her next step,” said Eric Eversole, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes. “This list identifies the top places for those veterans who want to use their discipline and determination to pursue a college degree.”

Here’s the top ten list of best places for veterans seeking higher education.

  1. Tuscaloosa, AL
  2. Lynchburg, VA
  3. Ann Arbor, MI
  4. College Station, TX
  5. St. Louis, MO
  6. Kileen, TX
  7. Syracuse NY
  8. Greenville, NC
  9. Salt Lake City, UT
  10. Columbia, SC


Oklahoma City is the best place for veterans to find corporate careers, according to the BestPlaces ranking. The city got credit for its growing economy and relatively low cost of living. Oklahoma has a low unemployment rate and a high rate of wage growth among veteran workers.

Here’s the top ten list of places for veterans looking for work.

  1. Oklahoma City, OK
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Houston, TX
  4. Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Virginia Beach, VA
  8. Cleveland, OH
  9. Dallas, TX
  10. San Antonio, TX


The Hiring Our Heroes/USAA BestPlaces rankings name Asheville, NC as the top place for veteran entrepreneurs. The rankings point to the number of existing veteran-owned businesses and the number of small businesses per capita in the city. Asheville also has growing wages for veterans, a low cost of living, and an international airport located within an hour’s drive.

Here’s the top ten list of the best places for veteran entrepreneurs.

  1. Asheville, NC
  2. Sarasota, FL
  3. West Palm Beach, FL
  4. Staunton, VA
  5. Prescott, AZ
  6. Wilmington, NC
  7. Missoula, MT
  8. Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  9. Oklahoma City, OK
  10. Fort Walton Beach, FL

Find the full set of lists here: