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Operation GoodJobs, military to civilian

Helping veterans and their families find civilian jobs

Moises and Kelly Lozacruz are two veterans who have benefited from Operation GoodJobs. Photo credit: Goodwill

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Operation GoodJobs is a program run by Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region, to provide servicemembers, veterans and their families the tools to succeed in the civilian workplace. The transition to civilian life is a big adjustment and Goodwill works to bridge the gap between the two worlds. Those that join the program are provided with an individualized, holistic plan designed to help them succeed. It can include job training and placement services with the goal of job placement, retention, and financial stability for each family.

According to Christina Lipin, veteran services manager, the program is open to active-duty servicemembers prior to separation. "We serve transitioning military members, reservist, National Guard members, veterans of all eras and ranks, military and veteran spouses, and dependents under twenty-five living with a veteran or military sponsor."

Operation GoodJobs is a long-term program with each family followed for a year after job placement.  It is designed for those who plan to stay in the area. For those planning to relocate, there are other services available to help you. To learn about the program and to take the first step, you must attend an orientation session which takes place at 2 p.m. every Friday at Starbucks on South Tacoma Way in Lakewood, and the fourth Thursday of every month at the Lacey Veteran Services Hub.

Once a person completes the orientation, they will start the employment pathway process which is individualized for each person and varies based on the client's needs.  "Each participant in our program is assigned a case manager who provides support throughout the employment process. The case manager assists in developing a plan that will serve the needs of the whole family," said Lipin.

Goodwill is a nonprofit and the local community helps support programs like Operation GoodJobs every time they donate goods or shop at a Goodwill store. "Goodwill turns donations into jobs. This year, Goodwill will serve over ten thousand people with disabilities and disadvantages in our communities, place three thousand in jobs, and keep over thirty million pounds out of unusable donations out of the landfills. The funds raised through the Goodwill stores supports employment training and readiness services to help individuals - including our veterans - find good jobs with local businesses in our community," she said.

There are many benefits to employers to participate in Operations GoodJobs. Lipin said, "All of Operation GoodJobs services are free to businesses.  This includes everything from placement and screening services to retention support for veteran employees.  Additionally, businesses are not charged to participate in our networking events or trainings." Goodwill works hard to find the right employee for the job.  

The Milgard Work Opportunity Center is Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region's facility to get people to work.  Goodwill is a vocational certified school in the state of Washington. The building has a whole floor dedicated to youth 25 and younger and offers a barista training program. The main floor has computer labs for classes and job hunting. The culinary program runs a bistro serving excellent low-cost meals and is open to the public.

For more information on Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region's veteran programs, visit their website at: goodwillwa.org/training/veteran/.

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