On Veterans Day, Goodwill® Honors Veterans and Military Families

Nov 09, 2012, 09:14 ET from Goodwill Industries International

Goodwill Calls on Policymakers to Expand Commitment to Veterans and Those Who Support Them

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On November 11, Americans will honor the men and women who have served our country. Because America's veterans and the families who support them deserve more than one day, Goodwill Industries International calls on policymakers, organizations and all Americans to support a comprehensive, year-round commitment to valuing the contributions of service members and their families long after their military service ends.

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Nearly 22 million men and women in the United States are veterans. As the United States works to withdraw from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), this number is growing. With more than one million military veterans returning to civilian life over the next 3-5 years, the need for a continuum of coordinated services for this population and their families is at an all-time high.

A stubbornly bleak job market translates to high unemployment for veterans. This population is particularly vulnerable to a variety of challenges that keep them from fully participating in the workforce and providing for themselves and their families. Veterans often deal with physical disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, psychological disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, homelessness and long waits for benefits, among other challenges. In addition, military spouses and families face challenges of their own. Managing their households and caring for their children are major stressors, and because military families tend to move more frequently than non-military families, they may find it difficult to pursue long-term employment and career-advancing opportunities.

"In order to meet the debt we owe our veterans, we must make a large-scale, year-round commitment to both them and their families," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Helping them find employment and secure economic self-sufficiency is a top priority."

In the past four years, Goodwill has doubled the number of veterans and military family members that it serves. In response to First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden asking all Americans to do more to help serve the nation's military families, it launched Goodwill®for America's Heroes and Their Families. The programhas employed 1,614 veterans and military family members, and served 55,388 through a number of supports including financial education, health screenings, housing, mental health and substance abuse counseling, transportation assistance, Veterans Benefits Assistance, virtual career assistance, youth mentoring for their families and more since July 2011.

Goodwill has also received funding from the Walmart Foundation to launch Operation: Good Jobs, a program that works with veterans to create holistic, individualized career plans to ensure their long-term economic security. In addition, Goodwill is proud to serve as the national activation partner of Got Your 6, a nationally focused collective campaign led by the entertainment industry and national nonprofits, with the goal of placing 500,000 veterans and military spouses in sustainable employment by the end of 2014.

To mark Veterans Day, Goodwill is reaffirming its commitment to work toward a continuum of coordinated services that effectively serve military families. Furthermore, Goodwill calls on policymakers to enact policies that create a more seamless service delivery system for military service members, veterans and their families.

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 2011, more than 4.2 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 find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl.

SOURCE Goodwill Industries International