Goodwill Announces New Initiative to Serve Women Veterans

ROCKVILLE, MD. — Women make up an increasingly large part of our armed forces. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports one in ten veterans is a woman. Many women veterans returning from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling to transition to civilian life, with factors such as homelessness, childcare, disability, lack of licensing or credentialing, and other challenges impeding their and their family’s path to economic self-sufficiency. In January, the unemployment rate was 17.1 percent for women veterans; the latest data for May says it stands at the lowest rate in years – 4.9 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for women veterans transitioning to the labor force is volatile, and, if the cycle continues, we will likely see the rate rise dramatically again. Women veterans continue to drop out of the labor force: too many of this country’s heroes are on the labor market sidelines, giving up on connecting to careers. Now is the time for employers and service providers to address this critical issue by connecting women veterans to stable employment so they can support their families and contribute to their communities.
To address the challenges women veterans are experiencing as they return home, Goodwill plans to announce a new initiative to help 3,000 women veterans find jobs in the next two years. Two years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden called on Goodwill and others to support military veterans by participating in the Joining Forces campaign. To date, Goodwill has hired nearly 1,800 men and women veterans and military family members, and has served nearly 100,000 more with job training and placement services.
Participating in this discussion of the unique challenges facing women veterans seeking employment are:

  • Jim Gibbons, president and CEO, Goodwill Industries International
  • Assistant Secretary Keith Kelly, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), U.S. Department of Labor
  • Juanita Williams, a Navy veteran who launched a new career using Goodwill services and is now an ophthalmologist assistant with The Bellaire Eye Care Clinic in Houston, TX
Ms. Williams joined the Navy in 2001 and served with pride until 2009. She struggled with the effects of the emotional and psychological challenges, sexual trauma, as well as her service related injuries, and spent three full years actively seeking work, without success. At Goodwill, Ms. Williams was assisted with housing assistance, job lead generation, and invitations to job fairs and hiring invents.

This National Press Club Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 20, 2013 in the Club’s Murrow Room on the 13th Floor of the National Press Building, 529 14th St, NW, Washington, DC, 20045. To join the conversation via webcast, visit
Herb Perone, NPC Newsmaker Event Host
(301) 512-7636, [email protected]