ROCKVILLE, Md., June 17, 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 a new initiative to help 3,000 women veterans find jobs in the next two years. 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
- Toni Meador, executive assistant, Avondale Ship Yards, Houston, Texas
Continuing a proud family tradition of military service begun by her grandmother's Army career, Toni Meador joined the Navy in April 2010. As a single mother, she wanted to build a better life for herself and her young son. Unfortunately, like too many female service members, Toni experienced military sexual trauma.
Her dreams of a successful military career were shattered when another person's error forced her to jump off the carrier deck into the sea, at a height equivalent to a ten-story building. Her injuries were substantial; ending her dream of military service. Toni's transition into civilian life was extremely difficult as she struggled with the effects of military sexual trauma, homelessness and PTSD. At Goodwill, Toni was assisted with housing and household necessities, resume preparation, financial education, vocational guidance, and job search and placement services, and empowered herself to become so self-sufficient again.
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
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