By Katherine Michaud Smith, Creative Services Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International
Individuals who have served our country deserve more than just our thanks for their service — they need support to successfully return to civilian life. While veterans face many challenges, such as emotional stress, family obligations, and physical and emotional disabilities, they also must learn to navigate the workforce and find a job.
The challenge of finding a job has many layers. That’s why the Houston Airport System (HAS) brought the Edge4Vets job training program to Texas.
Edge4Vets was first formed in New York as a program to help veterans prepare for work and connect with mentors to create a “Plan4Success.” It has expanded to several states, including Texas, the state with the second-highest veterans population in the country. After creating a Plan4Success through the program, veterans take an online course to refine it and then receive a certificate that can help them secure interviews. They also learn how to translate their strengths and experience from the military into marketable skills employers need.
After a pilot of the Edge4Vets program at HAS last year, Goodwill Industries of Houston joined the effort to provide job preparation and personal support through Operation: GoodJobs. Goodwill counselors help veterans to refine their Plan4Success, hone their resumes and follow up on job interviews lined up during the Edge4Vets workshop.
Goodwill Houston also provides veterans and military families with the tools and resources necessary to connect with meaningful work so that they can gain the financial stability they deserve. It does so by providing job seekers with advanced labor market information; access to employment, training, credentials and career advancement opportunities; financial wellness resources; and more.
Edge4Vets and Operation: GoodJobs are funded by the Walmart Foundation as part of its commitment to help veterans, service members and military families succeed when they return to civilian life.
The Edge4Vets program has seen remarkable success to date, with eight in 10 veterans gaining employment upon completion.