Rockville, MD (PRWEB) September 16, 2013
The Walmart Foundation has granted $5 million to Goodwill Industries International to expand Operation: GoodJobs, an initiative that equips military veterans and their families with the tools they need to earn employment and ensure long-term financial wellness for themselves and their families. Building upon effective practices developed via the Operation: GoodJobs pilot, Goodwill will scale the program to serve more than 4,000 veterans and military families over three years.
Operation: GoodJobs originally launched in the spring of 2012 at Goodwill agencies in Austin and Houston, Texas, and Tacoma, Wash., with a $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. After successfully serving more than 800 veterans and families, Goodwill and the Walmart Foundation will expand the program to include nine additional Goodwill headquarters in four states with high concentrations of veterans: California, New York, North Carolina and Texas.
"Operation: GoodJobs not only assists veterans and their families with job training and placement and skills attainment, but also plans for each participant’s continued success by designing individualized, comprehensive plans that support the needs of the entire family, including spouses and adult children, and helps ensure their economic stability in the long term," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Each participant in Operation: GoodJobs receives a complete career assessment and a development plan that includes a range of family needs, from basic needs such as child care, nutrition and shelter, to specific job training identified in the assessment process."
The program connects veterans and their families with opportunities to earn certifications, market-value credentials and degrees that will help them with their careers. In addition, Operation: GoodJobs provides soft skills training, including résumé writing skills, career testing, and translating military skills to civilian language. Goodwill works with hundreds of business partners to find the right match for both participants and businesses. Through Operation: GoodJobs, Goodwill also offers employers free placement and screening services, and post-placement support.
One example of a success story comes from Juanita Williams in Houston, Texas. Williams joined the Navy in 2001 and worked as a radarman and operations specialist until 2009. She struggled with the effects of service-related injuries and spent three full years actively seeking work, without success. At Goodwill, Williams received assistance with business dress, etiquette, housing, job training and placement, job fairs and hiring events, and child care for her daughter. Through Operation: GoodJobs, Williams found employment as an ophthalmologist assistant — a career for which she did not previously have the training. Currently, Williams is pursuing pharmacy tech and plans to obtain her master’s degree within the next year. Williams will also be purchasing a new home for her and her daughter.
"Veterans return home as proven leaders who have demonstrated their work ethic and commitment to achieving results as part of a team," said retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Gary Profit, senior director of military programs at Walmart. "Knowing we will have more than one million veterans returning home in the next five years, Operation: GoodJobs will help us serve enlisted veterans under the age of 34 who need help transitioning back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill will provide the necessary career counseling and training so that these veterans can obtain employment, and, in turn, employers can benefit from their skills and talents and match them with meaningful employment opportunities."
The three Operation GoodJobs pilot sites will continue to strengthen their programs and help lead the expansion of this work, as Goodwill Industries International competitively selects nine additional Goodwill subgrantees to implement the program during a three-year period. Preference will be given to Goodwill agencies that currently serve U.S. Guard and Reserve populations. Further preference will be given to agencies with existing veteran engagement and strong local partnerships directly linked to service members, veterans and their families. In particular, applicants will be chosen based on their ability to directly connect with service members as they exit active duty to provide them and their family members with financial strengthening services, including financial education and coaching, job training, and family and housing counseling.
The selected subgrantees will be announced in late October and will serve at least 15 percent of women veterans as part of Goodwill’s commitment to connect 3,000 women veterans to stable employment over the next two years. Research shows that women veterans are three times as likely as women non-veterans to become homeless, while male veterans are twice as likely as male non-veterans. Through Operation: GoodJobs, Goodwill will leverage understanding of this population to serve them and provide supports that lead to economic self-sufficiency.
If you know of a veteran who would benefit from these services or have questions, please call 800-GOODWILL or email contactus(at)goodwill(dot)org.
About Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of America's top 25 most inspiring companies (Forbes). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,700 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com®. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2012, more than 6.7 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 82 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services.
To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at http://www.goodwill.org or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women's Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than one billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart's giving, visit http://foundation.walmart.com.