• December 21, 2014

Goodwill searches for veterans to help find work

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Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014 4:30 am

Heart of Texas Goodwill and Wal-Mart are trying to put veterans to work through their Operation GoodJobs Program. The local organization is looking for more veterans to enroll.

Wal-Mart issued a $5 million grant to Goodwill Industries International in October so Goodwill can help veterans find work in their local communities. The Heart of Texas Goodwill received $300,000 in January.

“Right now we have 43 people in our program,” said Katie Martin, Operation GoodJobs Program director. The local Goodwill has funds for at least 300 veterans and family members.

As part of the program, Goodwill representatives will help veterans and their family members learn job skills by obtaining trade certificates and/or associate degrees, Martin said.

It also works with veterans to determine their career goals and teach them about building a resume and the interview process.

Goodwill will even provide interview attire if needed, Martin said.

“Operation: GoodJobs will help us serve enlisted veterans under the age of 34 who need help transitioning back into the civilian workforce,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Gary Profit, senior director of military programs at Wal-Mart, in a release in September. “Goodwill will provide the necessary career counseling and training so that these veterans can obtain employment, and, in turn, employers can benefit from their skills and talents and match them with meaningful employment opportunities.”

The program will continue to help veterans after they find work, Martin said. Goodwill wants to ensure people work for a year and provide continual financial planning services.

“We want to get them on an action plan,” Martin said. “We continue working with them even though they get a job. We want to maintain a working job.”

Some future aspects of the program will include setting up emergency savings accounts and creating a family budget.

Goodwill still is seeking business partners to aid the program, which could have potential leads for jobs, Martin said. “About 10 people have found job placement already. ... We are hoping business outreach will help increase those numbers.”

Later this month, Goodwill organized a meeting with several entities that help veterans find work, such as the Texas Veterans Commission, to ensure they are not duplicating services and working together.

“We want to know how would we will work together to better a person’s situation,” Martin said.

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