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Operation: GoodJobs

Helping post-911 veterans find jobs

Operation: GoodJobs promises to connect veterans with the local business community. Courtesy photo

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Mike Tassin, veterans services manager for Tacoma Goodwill, is making a difference by helping hundreds of local veterans find employment.

For Tassin, who served eight years in the Army, helping fellow veterans was a natural decision. During a 2003 deployment, while on humanitarian missions delivering food and other supplies to the Iraqi people, Tassin realized how many issues could be solved by helping people communicate their needs.

So, armed with a Bachelor's degree in Human Services and a Masters in Psychology, Tassin began work with the Tacoma Goodwill.

In May 2012, Goodwill Industries International, backed by a national grant from the Walmart Foundation, launched Operation: GoodJobs in Tacoma, Austin and Houston. Since then, the program has expanded into California, New York, North Carolina and Texas, which all have high veteran populations.

Operation: GoodJobs focuses primarily on post-911 veterans and their families. To be in the program, veterans cannot have a dishonorable discharge and must be motivated to find employment.

"This is not a passive program ... we require communication. The better they communicate with us the better position we will be in to assist them," explained Tassin.

>>> Wells Fargo awarded $75,000 to Tacoma Goodwill's Operation: GoodJobs for its veteran's career transition program Firday, Nov. 8. Courtesy photo

Mentoring services range from resumé writing and interview skills workshops to training and skills assessment. Operation: GoodJobs also provides veteran job seekers with a chance to network with the business community. Furthermore, veterans enrolled in the program have access to counseling services, financial education and individual case management.

"The fact that I have been a part of this program since the inception and had a opportunity to develop it from the ground up is great," he said. "I see us continuing to grow as more servicemembers exit the military. We have different partnerships, to include Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the VA, in addition to many nonprofits. The partnerships have aided us to reach a large audience of veterans and families."

The Tacoma program has transitioned military veterans into 215 jobs over the last 16 months, and enrolled 115 new veterans into the program since March.

JBLM is set to release thousands of transitioning servicemembers this year alone, with an estimated 40 percent of those veterans expected to settle in the area. Through Operation: GoodJobs, seven trained veterans will mentor 56 wounded warriors; the program intended to place at least 75 post-911 wounded veterans into employment over the next year.

This particular effort was made possible through the Wounded Warrior Project, which recently awarded almost $50,000 to Operation: GoodJobs.

"With the WWP grant I will have the ability to develop a veterans mentorship program for transitioning servicemembers," Tassin said. "They can come straight here once they're off of active-duty and not only receive services from Operation: GoodJobs, but also take part in a mentoring program for the extra support. They will also have the opportunity to take part in outside activities with the mentor and their peers where we will fund the activities with the grant."

Moving forward, Tassin and his team want to continue to expand the program, specifically throughout Pierce, Thurston and south King counties. He'd also like to see involvement from businesses in the Yakima and Longview area.

"I know from the success we have had in the Puget Sound area that my goal is possible, but it is going to take time and a continual effort," Tassin concluded. "I want Operation: GoodJobs to be on the forefront of the veterans' community and when it's mentioned people will know that they will get the hand up that they need."

For more information, visit Operation: GoodJobs's Facebook or

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