I spent my high school years growing up in a small town in Northern California. Though I was a good student, there were very few resources to help me choose a financially feasible course to college, so I decided to join the United States Marine Corps. I served in the Marine Corps from 1991 to 1997 completing many tours including Desert Hope, Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After my honorable discharge from the military, I expected that my service would make me a sought-after candidate. Instead, I found that both companies and society did not always look favorably upon this first Gulf War or the servicemen or women involved.
After changing jobs a number of times and exploring a number of industries, I decided to go back to school and focus on interior design and architectural design. I developed a passion for green and universal design for all and envisioned creating a design firm focusing on these two areas.
I first started looking for a position when I graduated in 2009, but at the height of the economic recession, there were no positions available. It was at this time that I found out about Goodwill of Orange County and their microenterprise development program. The 15-week course provided valuable information about getting a business started. Each class had a guest speaker that I not only learned from, but also used as a networking resource.
While I was taking the course, I was involved with the local American Legion post in my area and recognized an opportunity to meet their security needs for their facility and their events. Using the knowledge I was gaining through Goodwill’s future business owner’s course, I temporarily changed my course and began developing Semper Fi Security, Inc.
Semper Fi Security provides many services, such as parking and traffic control as well as greeters and watchmen. For the American Legion Post, it was able to ensure proper membership, sign-in of their guests and parking control. In addition to myself, Semper Fi Security has been able to provide part time positions for eight additional veterans. With a recent contract for vessel charters, boating and entertainment companies, I expect to hire many more former veterans and their immediate families.
I continue to be active in Goodwill’s services by participating in the follow-up membership program Goodwill Business Connections. While my dream is still to design a better world through architecture and interiors, I am enjoying building a new business that provides opportunities for veterans and their families that are adjusting back into civilian life and looking to receive positive gainful employment.
Hear more stories from people like Jason. »
Read more about Goodwill’s commitment to helping veterans and military families find employment. »