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Goodwill Helps Women Veterans with Their Specific Employment Challenges Women make up the fastest growing group in our armed forces. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that currently one in 10 veterans is female. These women are returning from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and struggling to transition to civilian life, facing challenges such as child care costs, lack of transportation, homelessness, disabilities, lack of licensing or credentialing, and other challenges impeding their family’s path to economic self-sufficiency. Goodwill® understands what women veterans face when they return home and equips them to successfully transition into the workforce through job training and placement, career advancement and family strengthening services. As a national organization, Goodwill Industries International is announcing that it is committing to engaging 3,000 women veterans over the next two years with services and supports that lead to economic self-sufficiency. The unemployment rate for women transitioning from active duty into the civilian workforce is volatile, indicating that while the rate may see occasional drops, it is likely to again rise dramatically. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate for women veterans who served after 9/11 has ranged 15 percent from a peak of 19.9 percent to a low of 4.9 percent, while their male counterparts saw a range of 5.1 percent with a 12.7 percent peak and a 7.6 percent low. If the cycle continues, we will likely see women veterans becoming discouraged with the job search and dropping out of the labor force. These findings make it crucial to connect women veterans to stable employment so they can build their careers and care for their families. Research shows that women veterans are three times as likely as non-veterans to become homeless, while male veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans. In the Greater Cincinnati area, Ohio Valley Goodwill has helped thousands of veterans, including women, build their civilian careers. Locally, in 2012, Ohio Valley Goodwill served more than 700 veterans, a percentage of which were women. Since the early 1990’s, the organization has helped more than 5000 veterans to receive assistance with transitional and permanent housing, skill training, job placement assistance as well as case management support. “These women have financial and personal obligations, just as male veterans do, and it’s important that they have the support and services needed to overcome challenges to finding employment,” said Joe Byrum, President and CEO. “We’re proud of their service to our country and our community, and it is our duty to help them be successful in the workplace.” Two years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden called on Goodwill and others to support military veterans by participating in the Joining Forces campaign. Answering the call, Goodwill nationally has hired nearly 1,800 men and women veterans and military family members, and it has served nearly 100,000 more with job training and placement services. Goodwill also served as a national activation partner of Got Your 6, the first initiative of its kind led by the entertainment industry and national nonprofits where veterans and military families are positioned as both the leaders and civic assets they are. For more information, visit www.cincinnatigoodwill.org/services or the national Goodwill website at www.goodwill.org.