While the rest of the nation celebrated Independence Day last week, we at Goodwill of Orange County did even more to honor our nation’s heroes. We launched the “Enduring Independence” national Veterans’ pilot program at our annual Invitational Golf Tournament. This program highlights “Vet Advantages:” the attributes that we have confirmed employers are looking for in their employees. The ten core “Vet Advantages” are dependability, integrity, teamwork, accountability, initiative, loyalty, unselfishness, courage, effectiveness and decisiveness, which veterans have in spades!
We are not the only ones who know this program is groundbreaking. General George W. Casey Jr., one of America’s most iconic military leaders, former head of the Iraq Multinational Force and former Chief of Staff for the US Army from 2007 to 2011, joined us at our annual Goodwill Invitational Golf Tournament to announce “Enduring Independence.” Surrounded by dozens of post-9/11 vets from throughout Southern California, General Casey challenged the Orange County business community to create job opportunities for veterans, calling it “a smart business decision.”
In addition, the OC business community rose to the challenge. US Bank, DLD Insurance Brokers, UPS, Bank of America, American Airlines, the USO and others helped us raise over $125,000 to educate employers about the ten “Vet Advantages” that make hiring a veteran such a smart business decision.
You may ask, why is it so important for Goodwill of Orange County to lead the entire country in providing jobs for veterans? Because California has the largest veteran population in the country, and Orange County has the sixth largest. And Goodwill has been in the business of helping people find jobs for over 89 years. Services are very necessary here, especially in light of recent budget and staff cuts at the state and federal level. In addition, veterans ages 21 to 29 have an estimated 20 percent unemployment rate, which is why “Enduring Independence” will specifically focus on this group.
The program assists unemployed and underemployed veterans and their spouses, and spouses of active duty military personnel in finding regular employment, and increasing earnings through general placement services, sector-based training and business engagement strategies. The program also provides financial literacy training and wellness services via the Goodwill Fitness Center.
Although “Enduring Independence” has now launched in Orange County, the long-term goal is to roll out nationally to both employers and veterans. Want to know more? Contact Carlos Burela about the Enduring Independence veterans program. If you are a veteran, we can help put you to work. And if you’re an employer, we can educate you as to why hiring a vet is one of the best business decisions you’ll ever make.