Goodwill® Leaders, National Partners Address Strategies for Supporting Veterans and Military Families

Posted August 21, 2013

Since World War I, Goodwill® has answered the call to meet the needs of veterans and their families through innovation and social enterprise. We know that serving this population and connecting them with family-sustaining careers requires communication and collaboration between other organizations and ourselves.

In late July, we invited our Goodwill leaders and national partners to our Goodwill Industries International office here in Rockville, MD, for the Goodwill for America’s Heroes and Their Families Summit. Funded by the Walmart Foundation, the event united attendees representing 36 Goodwills and eight partners, including:

  • Soldier for Life (a program of the Chief of Staff of the Army)
  • Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS)
  • Operation Homefront
  • Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families
  • Give An Hour
  • Student Veterans of America
  • The American Legion
  • Hiring Our Heroes (a U.S. Chamber of Commerce program)

During the summit, participants developed three strategies to advance the success of veterans and military families:

  1. Holistically engage veterans and military families.Connect veterans with holistic services including, but not limited to, job training, military skills and experience translation analysis, skills attainment, housing, financial education and coaching, and mental health support.
  2. Engage businesses as a partner.Work with interested businesses on a local, regional and national basis to connect veterans and military families with family sustaining careers.
  3. Convene community stakeholders to connect veterans and military families with skills and resources.Develop and deploy workable, integrated systems that connect veterans and military families with critical elements they need to succeed. These community efforts should strengthen families and build financial stability, enable veterans and family members to attain skills development with stackable credentials, and provide access to job placement with career navigation resources.

Attendees at the summit also got a firsthand look at the success of Operation: GoodJobs, hearing how Goodwill agencies headquartered in Austin, Houston and Tacoma convened communities and provided both outreach and holistic services to veterans and their families.

After a speech from Teresa Gerton, deputy assistant secretary for policy at DOL VETS, the summit culminated in an action planning process that allowed participants to reflect on what they learned and how they could implement new ideas and innovations back at their organizations.