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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

 

VA and Goodwill Industries Create Partnership

September 24, 2001, 08:00:00 AM

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WASHINGTON -- Veterans who need job training and placement will have new opportunities to enter the workforce under a national agreement between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Goodwill Industries International, Inc.

Under the program, called Transitional Work Experience (TWE), participating local Goodwill Industries agencies will hire formerly homeless veterans, as well as veterans participating in VA's mental health programs, who are enrolled in VA’s Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) programs.

"This agreement will benefit many veterans who are unemployed, while assisting Goodwill agencies that may be facing a labor shortage," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi.  "I have asked everyone in VA to look at ways of increasing our participation with community-based organizations.  This kind of national partnership will create opportunities for many people, and working with Goodwill Industries will help ensure workplace success for our veterans.”

The new program will provide temporary labor opportunities for formerly homeless veterans in a wide variety of jobs, including truck drivers, inventory management, general office work and production supervision.  Veterans may participate in TWE for up to six months.  

Goodwill Industries International is a network of 215 local, autonomous member organizations in the United States, Canada and 24 other countries.  Each organization serves people with disabilities and other needs by providing job training and employment services, as well as job placement opportunities and post-employment support.  

"Through this collaboration, veterans will receive paid on-the-job training, learn transferable job skills and gain valuable work experience," said George W. Kessinger, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, Inc.  “Our goal is to help people find and keep employment, grow their careers, and become independent, tax-paying members of their communities.”

Many veterans participating in TWE will work for the industrial contracts divisions of local Goodwill agencies.  Goodwill fulfills industrial contracts for national and local businesses, as well as government agencies, and assists with employers’ temporary manpower needs.  These contracts provide opportunities for people to learn necessary job skills while earning a paycheck.  In 2000, Goodwill earned nearly $357 million through these contract services, while creating 23,292 jobs.  

VA's Compensated Work Therapy and Transitional Residence Programs, offer structured work opportunities and supervised therapeutic housing for at-risk and homeless veterans with physical or mental disabilities and substance abuse problems.  The veterans are paid for their work and, in turn, participate in the maintenance and upkeep of their residences.

"Through this work, veterans have the chance to learn new job skills, relearn successful work habits, and regain their sense of self-esteem and self-worth,” said Principi. “I want this program to work, and I’m excited about the future potential of expanding our efforts with Goodwill.” 

For more information about VA's homeless and CWT programs see: http://www.va.gov/health/homeless/index.htm or http://www.va.gov/vetind.   To learn more about Goodwill Industries see: http://www.goodwill.org.

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