New Program Provides Military Veterans and Their Families with Education and Job Resources
ROCKVILLE, MD — Goodwill Industries International is launching a new initiative, with the support of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, to help military veterans and their families connect with the education, training and support services they need to succeed on the homefront. Vested in Veterans will build on existing Goodwill programs — including Goodwill for America’s Heroes and Their Families and Community College/Career Collaboration (C4) — to create a holistic support system that helps veterans and their families in four communities secure educational opportunities, find jobs and build their careers. These communities include Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and San Antonio.
Today’s returning veterans face a unique array of challenges. 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 further amplified when veterans have service-related physical disabilities or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Take Edward, for example. He had years of teaching, marketing and management experience in addition to four years in the military and five years in the reserves when he was laid off from a teaching position in Los Angeles. Arlington was unemployed for eight months until he was contacted by the Metro North WorkSource Center through the Department of Labor’s Rapid Response program through Goodwill. After an interview, he was approved to receive case management, intensive services, training and supportive services.
As he worked on his Individual Employment Plan, Arlington noted he’d like to gain another teaching credential that is in higher demand among employers. He enrolled in the math and science cohort with California State University of Los Angeles and completed the training in June 2012. He obtained his single subject science teaching credential in August 2012. LAUSD rehired Arlington into a full-time position. He still receives supportive services to ensure a successful transition back into the work force.
“We owe it to every one of our veterans and their family members to provide them with the tools they need to advance beyond their military careers and connect them with employers who understand the value of their military experience, so they can succeed at work and at home,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Through Vested in Veterans, we will enable veterans and military family members to focus on their careers and financial goals, and create a roadmap for successful civilian careers.”
Each participant in the Vested in Veterans program will receive an individualized career and financial plan designed to support a comprehensive set of personal goals related to employment, finances, assets, leadership and service. Participants will be connected to community college courses, job search and placement services, and career development tools designed to ensure long-term financial and professional success.
“Bank of America’s investment in Goodwill is just one of the ways we are helping individuals, including returning military, access the education and training they need to access jobs and build better financial futures,” said Kerry Sullivan, president, Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “We’re honored to recognize the sacrifice and leadership of our military members, veterans and their families through longstanding support and pleased to partner with Goodwill as part of our ongoing commitment to improve local economies.”
Goodwill Industries of North Georgia, Goodwill Houston, Goodwill Southern California, and Goodwill of San Antonio were chosen based on their impact and their relationships with the community. Bank of America Corp. currently serves two million active and veteran military households across the U.S. and employs nearly 6,000 reservist and veteran service members.