Tacoma Goodwill is one of three Goodwill agencies in the country selected to participate in a pilot program to help military veterans find employment.

Funded by a $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation and administered by Goodwill Industries International, Operation: GoodJobs assists veterans with job training and placement. It also lays the foundation for each participant’s continued success by designing individualized, holistic plans that encompass the needs of their entire families, helping ensure their long-term financial stability.

Tacoma Goodwill has hired Mike Tassin as veteran’s career navigator to lead the Operation: GoodJobs efforts here in the area. Tassin served as sergeant in the Army for eight years.

“I have been fortunate as a disabled veteran to experience a successful transition from military to civilian life,” he said. “I am passionate to serve veterans and their families in achieving their post military goals.”

As the military works to withdraw troops from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the need for a continuum of coordinated, integrated services for veterans and their families is at an all-time high. The challenging job market translates to an especially high unemployment for veterans, especially those ages 18 to 24, who face an unemployment rate of 20 percent — more than twice the national average. 

“Everyone is struggling to find good jobs these days, but veterans face particular challenges. It is our duty as a nation to support them,” said Terry Hayes, CEO of Tacoma Goodwill. “With Joint Base Lewis-McChord in our back yard, we’re seeing many young men and women returning home from the battlefield and facing difficulties transitioning back into civilian life, because they need assistance with job training, skills building and support services. Goodwill believes it’s absolutely imperative that we give each of these veterans everything they need to succeed.”

Each participant in the Operation: GoodJobs program will receive a complete career assessment and an individualized development plan that will encompass a range of family needs, from basic needs like nutrition, shelter and child care, to specific job training identified in the assessment process. Veterans will be encouraged to include their spouses and other family members in the process so Goodwill can holistically support their personal and financial goals.

Contact Tassin at (253) 573-6653 for more information.