JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), a veterans service organization providing the largest scope of programs and services to our nation’s veterans, today celebrated the placement of its 1,000th Warrior this year into a new employment opportunity as part of its Warriors to Work program. The milestone is a timely marker of WWP’s impact on this current generation of veterans, as the organization observes more than 10 years of service in support of wounded warriors.
“We get to know these warriors on a personal level. We find out their skill sets and what assistance they need. And we engage them locally — that’s ultimately where success for both the veteran and the employer is created.”
One of the few career guidance and support services that works with injured veterans and service members along their path from injury to employment, Warriors to Work focuses on long-term employment relationships rather than short-term placements. The program has an impressive average retention rate of at least two years for more than 80 percent of the warriors connected to employment through the program — a statistic not often measured or even mentioned by other veteran hiring programs. The goal is not merely to support the program participant during the employment search, but to connect them with a career path that meaningfully suits their personality, abilities and skill sets.
“For many of our warriors, leaving the military wasn’t in their life plan,” said Jennifer Silva, executive vice president of Economic Empowerment, Wounded Warrior Project. “So it’s more than transitioning to a new job. When they enter the civilian world, they are heading into an entirely new, uncharted phase of life with both challenges and opportunities to navigate.”
The organization’s Warriors to Work specialists fill many roles as they work with new job seekers — career advisor, peer counselor, life coach, resume-writing instructor and many others. The goal is to empower veterans and help them make this transition with consideration for mind, body, and spirit.
“Warriors to Work is a high-touch service for WWP,” said Jeremy Chwat, chief program officer, Wounded Warrior Project. “We get to know these warriors on a personal level. We find out their skill sets and what assistance they need. And we engage them locally — that’s ultimately where success for both the veteran and the employer is created.”
The Warriors to Work program is having a meaningful impact on the veterans and their new employers, including Vernon Gibson and Mike Notrica.
Gibson retired from the military in 2011 after serving for two decades. Despite his extensive skills from a military career, he struggled to find a job that allowed him to have a post-military career while financially providing for his family. However, through the Warriors to Work program, he learned of the Grilled Cheese Truck, a chef-driven gourmet venue founded in California. Combining his leadership skills with his entrepreneurial spirit, he now serves as general manager in Phoenix.
Notrica left the Army in 2010 after serving two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and missed the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers. However, through WWP, he was able to reconnect with similar veterans earned an internship with Under Armour. After he earns his finance degree, he hopes to return for full-time employment with Under Armour.
The program supports employers by helping them connect with qualified candidates, providing information and education about combat-related injuries (such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury), reasonable accommodations, facilitating a productive onboarding process, and developing a long-lasting relationship throughout the life cycle of employment. The process is mutually beneficial creating what can be a fruitful, long-term employee-employer partnership.
Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.