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Association extends ‘Goodwill’ to aid military

When most people hear the name Goodwill, they tend to think of thrift stores, which are in Southern Nevada and across the nation. As an avid thrift store consumer, I can highly recommend shopping in those outlets. But in addition to selling donated items and helping the general public gain employment, Goodwill also provides veterans’ assistance.

Toward that end, Goodwill of Southern Nevada has received a philanthropic gift of $216,500 from United Services Automobile Association in support of its Veteran Integration Program. The funding will allow Goodwill to expand services for military members and their spouses throughout the Southern Nevada area.

Rick Neal, president and CEO of Goodwill of Southern Nevada and a veteran himself, said, “Veterans and their families sacrifice in service to our nation and to protect our freedom. They place themselves in harm’s way. They spend months apart from loved ones. They put careers on hold to serve others. Some of them face barriers to employment when they transition out of the armed services or, in the case of military spouses, as they travel in support of the veteran. Often these barriers parallel those of civilians.

“However, challenges such as translating military skill sets into civilian terms and navigating unfamiliar systems to gain access to and knowledge about career assistance and opportunities available, are somewhat unique to veterans,” he said.

“We are so grateful for this investment and the continued support from USAA.”

(The firm long ago became a Fortune 500 diversified financial group of companies, including serving military members and eligible family members.)

Military spouses and immediate family members face challenges as they support their veterans. Military service places unique demands on families, often requiring them to move more frequently than nonmilitary families.

While those moves can provide great adventure and opportunities, they can also create problems for family members seeking employment. Their work histories are nonstandard at best, and nonexistent at worst.

Goodwill’s integration program provides veterans and their immediate family members year-round access to a variety of free career development services. They include networking opportunities, job readiness workshops, resume assistance to translate military experience into relevant civilian skills, occupational skills training and certifications.

Additionally they provide job leads, motivational support and wrap-around supportive services such as transportation assistance, work identification cards, industry-specific tools, and other forms of assistance needed to find and keep a good job.

Nearby Henderson is home to several Goodwill stores. Shopping there provides bargains and helps to support veterans services.

Chuck N. Baker is an award-winning journalist and a Vietnam War Purple Heart veteran. He can be heard at 8:30 a.m. each Sunday on KKVV-AM hosting “That’s America to Me” and occasionally on KUNV-FM hosting “America’s Veterans, Today and Tomorrow.”

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