Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire is proud to introduce Operation Open Doors offering ‘New Beginnings… New Hope”. You served us, now let us serve you by helping you to acclimate back into your community.
Priority for participation in Operation Open Doors is dependent upon available funding and the following requirements:
- unemployed service connected disabled homeless Veterans
- unemployed disabled homeless Veterans
- unemployed homeless Veterans
- underemployed service connected disabled homeless Veterans
- underemployed homeless Veterans
Scope of Services
Outreach directly to veterans who are homeless. Operation Open Doors will maintain referral relationships with all shelters. We will work closely with Veteran organizations such as the Veterans Administration, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Combat Veterans, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, etc.
Intake to verify eligibility and screen for barriers to employment. This includes a pre-enrollment assessment of Veteran’s status and eligibility for Veterans Benefits. We will assess each Veteran’s need for medical, mental health, substance abuse treatment, legal assistance and housing needs.
Vocational Evaluation in those instances where a more in-depth evaluation of employment potential is needed. Veterans will be provided with a comprehensive assessment of interests, aptitudes, and transitional skills to aid in planning their career goals.
Referrals for Support Services including health care, mental health treatment, substance abuse and rehabilitation services through the Veterans Administration or Georgia’s Department of Labor Rehabilitation Services. Veterans who have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be referred to Goodwill’s award winning ADVANCE acquired brain injury program for assessment and possible enrollment. Veterans will be provided professional career and peer counseling as well as assistance in securing emergency, transitional and permanent housing.
Employment and Training Services including classroom instruction in life skills, work literacy, financial management, job readiness skills. Veterans will be provided training in resume and cover letter development. They will be provided the opportunity to sharpen interview skills and to develop job search strategies. Along with career counseling, participants and the OOD team will jointly develop an Individualized Employment Plan. Participants may be referred to specific job skills training programs utilizing Goodwill’s training programs, local post-secondary schools, the Coastal Workforce Investment Board’s One-Stop for Individual Training Accounts and On-the-Job Training funds, Veterans’ Educational Benefits or the HOPE Scholarship and other financial assistance.
Placement Assistance will be provided by OOD staff with job leads to temporary, transitional and permanent employment. Each Veteran will be assisted with enrollment for employment services with the Georgia Department of Labor’s One-Stop. Within the One-Stop, each Veteran will be personally introduced to the local Veterans Employment Representative.
Post Employment Follow-up: The OOD Team will not abandon you once you become employed. Team members will remain in touch with you to provide support services for an additional nine months post employment to insure your successful reintegration into the community. Assistance will be there to help you with problems on the job, with housing, with financial management, etc.
We owe our Veterans a tremendous dept for their selfless sacrifice in defending America. You served with HONOR and our nation made a PROMISE to you. Goodwill Industry of the Coastal Empire RESPECTs you for all you have done. In cooperation with the United States Department of Labor – Veterans Employment and Training services, we would be honored to serve you through Operation Open Doors. It is time to ‘Come Home’ to a ‘New Beginning… New Hope’.
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Goodwill of the Coastal Empire’s Operation Open Doors Receives Federal Funding for Second Consecutive Year
Program Helps Homeless Veterans Return to the Workforce
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(SAVANNAH,GA) Richard Payton served his country for nine years in the United States Air Force, but the former medical service specialist recently found himself homeless, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and in need of assistance. For Payton, who proudly served his country in Operation Desert Storm, help came in the form of a Goodwill program specifically designed to help veterans get back on their feet.
Established in September 2010, Operation Open Doors offers “New Beginnings…New Hope” for homeless unemployed or underemployed veterans of theUnited Statesmilitary. Many of the veterans served by the program are disabled. By offering vocational evaluation, employment and training services, placement assistance and post employment follow-up, Operation Open Doors aims to help acclimate veterans back into society.
Funding From the Federal Government
Operation Open Doors was recently awarded funding from the United States Department of Labor Veterans Employment & Training Services (VETS) and Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program to continue helping veterans in the Coastal Empire for the next year. The $192,107 grant was one of 122 awarded to programs around the nation that provide veterans who are homeless or those who are at risk of being homeless with the necessary job training to segue into civilian careers.
“We are so pleased to receive this grant from the Department of Labor VETS and Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program for another year,” says Mohsen Badran, CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Inc. “The funding is a vote of confidence from the federal government and an acknowledgement that our program has successfully helped veterans in our community.”
Helping Veterans in the Coastal Empire
Since its inception, Operation Open Doors has helped more than 132 veterans in the Coastal Empire. Those receiving assistance span the generations: the oldest veteran participating in the program is 64, while the youngest is just 24.
The program has successfully placed 46 veterans in jobs at local companies and organizations including the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Lord Eye Center, Smoke Station BBQ, Roger Wood Foods, Ranco Tent Rentals, Planters Inn, Outback Steakhouse and Weyerhaeuser, among others. In addition, 94 veterans have been referred to housing programs.
Tabeter Robinson, Operation Open Doors’ program manager, encourages local companies to consider hiring veterans. “In addition to the tax credit benefit of hiring a veteran, employers can be assured that they have a committed and dependable worker,” Robinson says, noting that the structure the veterans had in the military can be an asset to future employers. “Structures such as punctuality, organization, team work and integrity that the veterans learned in the military are also some of the same qualities an employer would seek in a prospective employee.”
New Horizons: Partnership with International Paper
A new partnership between Goodwill Industries and International Paper promises even more opportunities for homeless veterans in the Coastal Empire. Veterans who participate in Operation Open Doors are helping the paper giant recycle wooden core plugs. The partnership first began when International Paper was faced with an unexpected challenge after one of its major suppliers had its plant taken offline by a fire.
“We were suddenly without a steady flow of core plugs to use in our paper roll process, and other sources for core plugs needed to be sought quickly. Since then, Goodwill of the Coastal Empire has really stepped in to help us in our time of need,” says Ty Cobb, purchasing store manager of the International Paper Savannah Mill. “Our partnership has had the added benefit of assisting homeless veterans in the process. This is truly a win-win for everyone in our community.”
In addition to creating valuable income to fund Goodwill programs such as Operation Open Doors, the wooden core plug recycling program gives the veterans invaluable work experience, which enables them to qualify for government housing assistance. The program also saves International Paper thousands of dollars and helps the environment by diverting the wooden core plugs from entering landfills.
Getting Back on His Feet
Richard Payton was one of the first veterans selected to participate in the International Paper wooden core recycling program. With the training he is receiving through Operation Open Doors and the recycling program, he is acquiring the skills he needs to be gainfully employed and secure housing.
“I am very thankful for this program,” says Payton, who lost housing, employment and the quality of life he once enjoyed because of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which he is currently being evaluated. “It will allow me to get housing through the HUD Veteran Supportive Housing program that works with Section 8. I am looking forward to ending my homelessness and having a key to a house and a new beginning.”