By Goodwill Industries International Director of Mission Services, Joylin Kirk, and Vested in Veterans Program Manager, Ruth Ifill
At Goodwill®, we know that today’s returning veterans have the dedication and leadership skills an employer would love to have in an employee. More than a million military servicemen and women are expected to leave behind their uniforms and return to civilian life in the next five years, and a stubbornly bleak job market translates to high unemployment for veterans. In addition, veterans and their families are frequently relocated, making it difficult for them to build credentials and careers. These challenges are intensified when veterans have service-related physical disabilities or post-traumatic stress disorder.
To help our veterans and their families overcome these obstacles, we’re partnering with the Bank of America® Charitable Foundation on the Vested in Veterans program in four markets in the United States that have a high veteran population: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and San Antonio. Our goal is to connect these veterans with support to gain civilian employment. Through the development of an individual career and financial plan, veterans and their families will work to build their skills and make the workforce connections they need to succeed.
Goodwill has implemented the formula of career planning, skills attainment, and job placement for veterans and their families since World War II. The following success stories illustrate how that model continues to be successful today:
- Veteran Steve Harris connected with Tacoma Goodwill Industries (WA) to gain assistance with his transition from military to civilian employment. He was able to attend a manufacturing academy hosted by the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee and Bates Technical College. The Tacoma Goodwill supported Harris through his class by providing financial assistance and other soft skills, such as résumé writing workshops and mock interviews. As a result of Tacoma Goodwill’s partnerships and Harris’ hard work, he was able to complete the course and find employment as a machinist.
- Jose Ortiz, a 26-year-old U.S. Army veteran, came to Goodwill Southern California’s Metro North WorkSource Center interested in the security sector training program. He enrolled and was provided with intensive case management services and career preparation. After completing 88 hours of training that covered the State of California requirements for Security Officer Certification and attending recruitment events, he applied and was interviewed by Universal Protection Services. Based on the leadership skills displayed in his military service, he was offered a full-time union supervisor position starting at $12.50 an hour, plus benefits.
In our first year of Vested in Veterans, Goodwill will connect veterans and their families with career assessment and navigation; training and resources; financial fitness skills to support achievement of long-term goals; inroads to employment opportunities; and support services for career advancement. Goodwill looks forward to expanding the Vested in Veterans initiative in the future and guiding greater numbers of veterans and military families to their next careers.