ROCKVILLE, MD – On Memorial Day, America will honor veterans and active military service members, — something Goodwill® does every day. Since World War I, Goodwill Industries® has helped veterans transition into civilian employment. In April 2011, Goodwill Industries International committed to assist military families as well by joining the White House initiative Joining Forces. The Goodwill for America’s Heroes and Their Families program will expand the organization’s job training, placement and employment programs to thousands of American service members, veterans and their families.
“Goodwill has answered the call from First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to further support American military families,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “We’re there to help veterans and the families of active military members alike to find jobs and thrive in their communities.”
Goodwill expects to count veterans, military spouses and military family members as more than 20 percent of it 5,000 hires this year. Goodwill agencies across the country also aim to provide face-to-face career and family strengthening services to more than 15,000 military families and are teaming up with the military to add Goodwill career links to military websites.
Richard Rickus is one of the many veterans Goodwill has served. After receiving two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War, he worked his way up to a career in middle management. After 18 years, he retired from a career in financial accounting and relocated his family to Florida. He embarked on a new career in retail management but was laid off and subsequently unemployed for a year and a half.
“At first, I thought it would be easy to find a new job, as I had a lot of experience,” Rickus said. “I soon found out that jobs were hard to secure in today’s market.”
A veterans representative referred Rickus to Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida (Fort Myers). Employment counselor Tandy Collins worked with Rickus and landed him an interview with a Goodwill store manager, which led to not only a second interview, but a job.
“It was good news,” Rickus said. “After so many months of no reply or ‘We will get back to you,’ someone actually wanted to hire me.”
After three months in a shift supervisor role, Rickus was promoted to assistant manager. Read more about him in Goodwill’s My Story blog: http://www.goodwill.org/my-story/richard-rickus/.