ROCKVILLE, Md., June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Women make up an increasingly large part of our armed forces. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports one in ten veterans is a woman. Many women veterans returning from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling to transition to civilian life, with factors such as homelessness, childcare, disability, lack of licensing or credentialing, and other challenges impeding their and their family's path to economic self-sufficiency. In January, the unemployment rate was 17.1 percent for women veterans; the latest data for May says it stands at the lowest rate in years – 4.9 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for women veterans transitioning to the labor force is volatile, and, if the cycle continues, we will likely see the rate rise dramatically again. Women veterans continue to drop out of the labor force: too many of this country's heroes are on the labor market sidelines, giving up on connecting to careers. Now is the time for employers and service providers to address this critical issue by connecting women veterans to stable employment so they can support their families and contribute to their communities.
To address the challenges women veterans are experiencing as they return home, Goodwill plans to announce that it is committing to engaging 3,000 women veterans over the next two years with services and supports that lead to economic self-sufficiency. Two years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden called on Goodwill and others to support military veterans by participating in the Joining Forces campaign. To date, Goodwill has hired nearly 1,800 men and women veterans and military family members, and has served nearly 100,000 more with job training and placement services.
Participating in this discussion of the unique challenges facing women veterans seeking employment are:
- Jim Gibbons, president and CEO, Goodwill Industries International
- Assistant Secretary Keith Kelly, Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), U.S. Department of Labor
- Juanita Williams, ophthalmologist assistant, The Bellaire Eye Care Clinic, Houston, Texas, a Navy veteran who launched a new career using Goodwill services.
Williams joined the Navy in 2001 and served with pride until 2009. She struggled with the effects of the emotional and psychological challenges, sexual trauma, as well as her service related injuries, and spent three full years actively seeking work, without success. At Goodwill, Williams was assisted with housing assistance, job training and placement, and invitations to job fairs and hiring invents.
This National Press Club Newsmakers news conference is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 20, 2013 in the Club's Murrow Room on the 13th Floor of the National Press Building, 529 14th St, NW, Washington, DC, 20045. To join the conversation via webcast, visit www.visualwebcaster.com/Goodwill4Vets.org.
About Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of America's top 25 most inspiring companies (Forbes). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,700 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation, and document imaging and shredding. In 2012, more than 6.7 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 82 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services.
To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at locator.goodwill.org, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl or @GoodwillCapHill, or find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl.
SOURCE Goodwill Industries International