Serving Those Who’ve Served our Country
The jobless rate for all veterans is nearly 7 percent; for non-veterans, it’s 6.4 percent. What is even more concerning is that the U.S. government reports that nearly 10 percent of post-9/11 era veterans are experiencing unemployment.
In addition, let’s not forget those veterans who, whether because of severe injuries or emotional distress, aren’t in the active labor pool. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are some 621,000 veterans who fit into this category. All of these statistics paint a clear picture: Those who served our country in its time of need are now the ones in need. Our war heroes are having a harder time finding work than those workers who didn’t serve. And with an estimated one million more veterans expected to return home in the next five years, the struggle to find work may well continue for this key population.
Fortunately, resources are available to turn things around. One such resource is Operation: GoodJobs, a program that equips military veterans and their families with the tools they need to earn employment and ensure long-term financial wellness for themselves and their families. The program launched in the spring of 2012 at Goodwill agencies in Austin and Houston, TX, and Tacoma, WA with a $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. It has successfully served more than 800 veterans and their families by connecting them with the tools and resources they need to achieve their educational, career and financial goals.
Now, the Walmart Foundation has granted $5 million to Goodwill Industries International to expand Operation: GoodJobs, and as a result Operation: GoodJobs is expanding here to the Heart of Texas.
In particular, veterans, spouses and adult dependents (ages 18-24) can receive valuable training, financial education, credentialing opportunities, retention support and case management resources to help them get back to work and advance their careers.
The numbers show that the transition from military service to the civilian workforce has proven to be difficult for many veterans. Individual stories tell us that some veterans have found that the skills they developed to protect our country aren’t transferring easily to their civilian lives. Others find they lack the education or job experience needed for their chosen fields.
That’s why Operation: GoodJobs is so important. We’re able to apply Goodwill’s vast experience in helping people find work to help address the employment difficulties facing today’s military veterans. In addition, we work with business partners to match potential employees with employers, and we provide participants with job search assistance and free employment placement, screening, and support services, including child care, nutrition advice and transportation.
One thing we’ve found is that veterans have skills that are quite marketable in today’s workforce. In some cases, they simply lack access to the proper training, and in others they need to learn how to market themselves to potential employers. The employers who hire veterans are finding veterans to be among the most highly skilled and capable members in the workforce.
Nationwide, Goodwill expects to serve more than 4,000 veterans and military families over a three-year grant period, extending through July 2016. Program participants can expect to receive Goodwill training, and educational and career supports specialized for their particular needs in the states of California, New York, North Carolina and Texas — four states that have a high concentration of veterans.
Operation: GoodJobs is part of Walmart’s larger commitment to America’s veterans. The company has already proven to be a leader in the hiring of veterans and their families.
For more information on how to participate, visit your nearest H.O.T. Goodwill Learning Center.