SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – In an effort to better provide career enhancing training and employment placement services to Black and Hispanic veterans and military spouses, United Services Automobile Association (USAA) awarded a grant to Goodwill Industries International through an effort called “Operation Achieve.” Goodwill Manasota was one of the sub-grantees for Operation Achieve, receiving $155,000 in October of 2021 to serve Black and Hispanic veterans and military spouses.
Recently, Goodwill Manasota – which exceeded all of its benchmarks for phase I of Operation Achieve – was one of just two Goodwill organizations to receive further funding of $67,500 to continue and expand the effort.
During phase I, Goodwill Manasota enrolled 74 veterans and/or spouses for upskilling/reskilling training and employment services; “enrollment” was denoted by the completion of an individual career and financial plan. Of those enrollees, 60 eligible individuals entered into at least one skills training program (based on their career goals), 53 achieved training completion, and Goodwill supported employment placements for 18 program enrollees by the ascribed deadline of August 31, 2022.
The top two types of training that program participants benefited from were government contracting and security/executive protection. Other industries participants received training in ranged from cybersecurity, forensics and bookkeeping to boating captain, notary public and even one master chocolatier.
Sarasota resident and veteran Wynika Moreira was a Corpsman in the U.S. Navy from 2002-2007; she continued in the nursing field after her transition into civilian life. While the GI Bill helped her to complete her Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Master’s degree, the program doesn’t cover the many needed certifications and testing outside of a typical college education.
With funding from phase I of Operation Achieve, Moreira was able to take a preparatory course and then certification testing, which she aced on her first try. Once she received her final credentials, she was offered – and accepted – a new position as a family nurse practitioner at CenterPlace Health.
The goals for phase II are to enroll 55 students, have 44 enter training, have 30 earn a credential in their specific industry, and place at least 45 participants into employment.
“At Goodwill, we are honored to support those who have served our country,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Donn Githens. “While we are focused on improving the education and wellness opportunities for all veterans and military families, the funds from USAA will help us to increase our reach and ensure opportunities exist for all who wish to better their prospects and enjoy life and career success.”
Community members who are interested in utilizing these funds for training should contact Todd Hughes, program manager for Goodwill’s American Veterans and their Families program: 941-355-2721, ext. 454, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
USAA, a diversified financial services group of companies, is among the leading providers of insurance, investing and banking solutions to members of the U.S. military, veterans who have honorably served, and their families.
For more about Goodwill Manasota, visit experiencegoodwill.org.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.