How Boeing is helping military veterans translate skills to civilian jobs

A partnership with Goodwill Veteran Services, and a $95,000 grant, ensures networking and hiring events at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., will continue in 2017

Jimmie Wimberly spent more than two decades serving in the U.S. Army. As he completed his final assignment as a human resources specialist at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) near Tacoma, Wash., he contemplated how to make the transition from a career in the military, to one as a civilian.

“Although I knew many of the skills I had were transferable, understanding the depth of how to apply them was one of my major goals,” he said. “That was one of my primary reasons for seeking out support organizations that could help me.”

Operation: GoodJobs, a program at Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region in Tacoma that assists members of the military and their families as they transition to civilian careers, provided the answers. A career counselor helped Wimberly refine his resume and sharpen interview skills. He also directed Wimberly to a networking and hiring event with more than 70 local employers and support organizations, including Boeing. Wimberly soon landed a job with the Washington Department of Commerce.

This month, Boeing extended its support of Goodwill’s Veteran Services, including Operation: GoodJobs. Sam Whiting, director of the Western Region for Boeing’s Global Corporate Citizenship program, announced a $95,000 Boeing grant to support the partnership.

“At Boeing, veterans and transitioning service members bring skills and perspective uniquely cultivated through their military experience to the civilian workforce,” said Whiting. “They create value in our company and countless others by demonstrating leadership, integrity, and a collaborative problem-solving approach.”

Boeing employs approximately 21,000 self-identified veterans representing approximately 15% of the total workforce. Goodwill’s Operation GoodJobs is one of many partnerships Boeing is engaged in to help veterans translate the skills they gained in the military and understand the value their military experience can bring to civilian jobs and communities. Boeing and its employees also contribute nearly $17 million annually to support military and veterans’ organizations and efforts. In 2016, Boeing was named a “Top Veteran-Friendly Company” by U.S. Veterans Magazine.

“This grant from Boeing is vital to the continuation of Goodwill’s Operation: GoodJobs and other veteran services that support about 1,600 servicemen, veterans and family members each year,” said C.W. Herchold, chairman of the board for Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region. “These services are critical to the transition of military personnel into our region’s civilian workforce.”

Wimberly, meanwhile, who attended the ceremony at a networking event attended by nearly 300 transitioning service members, said, “I have two words to sum up my transition experience – humbled and grateful.

“Because of Operation: GoodJobs and other experiences, resume writing and interviewing became easier. I now share what I’ve learned with other transitioning veterans,” Wimberly said.

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