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Goodwill’s Work to Support Veterans

By James Lander | August 23, 2012 | No Comments

Military veterans are well positioned to meet the demands of a skilled and committed workforce. Their untapped talents and proven leadership should be utilized to help drive the economy and business. However, employers continue to struggle with understanding and implementing holistic strategies to recruit, retain, support and advance veterans in their firms. Misunderstandings, misperceptions and lack of actionable strategies fuel this struggle.

Goodwill’s veterans and military family services are uniquely qualified to continue bridge this divide between veterans and civilian employers. Our programs encourage effective transitional support for veterans and military families, focusing on the challenges that impact veterans’ employment as well as on educating civilian employers.

We’ve been very successful in our Operation: GoodJobs program, which helps connect employers and veterans. Our efforts have led to a higher number of veterans hired, and employers have reported an increase in their retention rates.

We recognize that sharing veterans’ stories can be transformative for all involved; the act is both empowering for the veteran and meaningful for the viewing audience. Consequently, one of the cornerstones of our efforts is the Homefront Chats initiative.

Homefront Chats will engage veterans from Austin and Houston, TX, and Tacoma, WA, to share their personal stories by recording a 1-2 minute video each month directly into a webcam on laptops provided by Goodwill.

Over the next year, the project will highlight the personal experiences of 15 veterans, each of whom will share their stories over four separate videos. Cumulatively, the videos will paint a picture of veterans as an asset to employers, share common challenges faced by transitioning veterans and help others understand Goodwill’s role in supporting this population.

GII has created a YouTube channel to showcase these veterans and their video stories, available here. The channel aims to connect veterans, employers and the public at large with participating veterans in order to facilitate a greater understanding of the transition experience.

We are committed to increasing awareness, educating civilian employers, and expanding our efforts with stakeholders of and participation in Goodwill’s programs for veterans and their families, including resources for businesses. Throughout our communities, Goodwills demonstrate a coordinated, integrated holistic support services to ensure that our veterans and their families have every opportunity to succeed.

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James Lander is GII Veterans and Military Family Services National Program Manager for Goodwill International, and a member of the Arlington County School Board. He may be reached at james.lander@goodwill.org.

The opinions contained here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the New Dominion Project PAC Steering Committee.

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