Goodwill® Urges Congress to Support Employment for Veterans and Military Families

Goodwill staff present flag to Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA)On November 16, Goodwill® took to Capitol Hill to brief Congress on our work with military families and present our latest white paper, From Deployment to Employment: Goodwill’s Call to Action on Supporting Military Service Members, Veterans and Their Families (PDF).

Given the stubbornly bleak job market and constrained federal budgets, Goodwill calls for a continuum of coordinated services that address the unique needs and complex employment challenges facing veterans and military families. We also urge greater collaboration among the community-based providers, federal agencies and veteran service organizations.

Rep. McKeon Reaffirms Commitment to Veterans Services

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), author of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) legislation and current chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, kicked off the session by reaffirming his commitment to helping veterans find employment and commending Goodwill for the great work it does in putting people back to work.

“With unemployment rates for all veterans topping 12 percent and soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan facing 22 percent unemployment rates, it is important to me to see that our veterans are given employment opportunities,” Rep. McKeon said.  “I’m inspired when I see what you’re doing to help people put back to work, and I want to thank you for your efforts.”

One Veteran Shares Her Story

Attendees also heard from Lance Cpl. Karen Lee a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who found herself unemployed, homeless, and caring for two minor children when news that her son, an Iraqi War veteran struggling to reintegrate, was dead. She discussed the scope of services she needed to get back on her feet and the role Goodwill played in helping her navigate her way, secure her grandchildren’s benefits, stabilize her housing and find a job.

“When I walked into the office the day following my son’s funeral, I was greeted with a hug. I was literally homeless with nowhere to go. Goodwill worked to secure housing for me, and at the end of ten days I had an apartment. They also helped me connect with emergency food, clothing and transportation,” Lee said.

Goodwill’s Call to Action

Goodwill believes that our heroes deserve the best and that we must all stand up and make a difference for veterans and military families. We encourage agencies to work together to move beyond providing a loosely woven safety net for this population and tighten up that weave into a trampoline that will bounce people to their next careers.

We invite you to read our white paper to learn more about our commitment to serving veterans and military families.