November is here, bringing with it cooler weather, falling leaves and the realization that the holidays will soon be upon us. But Veterans Day is not to be overlooked. For nearly a century, America has paused on November 11 to honor its war veterans for their service, patriotism and valor.
As we know all too well, many of America's bravest don't make it home from battle. But for those who do return, whether or not they bear mental or physical scars, life isn't always easy. Assimilating to civilian life can be a challenge for a great many soldiers. One of the chief difficulties lies in finding suitable employment. It's not that veterans lack skills or courage; they've already proven otherwise. Rather, the skills they have don't translate well to the jobs that are available -- and that's an issue that many job seekers face, regardless whether they've served in the military.
I know these hurdles to employment can seem insurmountable at times, but as the first blind person to graduate from Harvard Business School, I am well aware that no hurdle is too great to overcome as long you have the proper preparation, training and assistance.
As you may know, Goodwill has 113 years of experience in helping people meet their personal and professional goals. We started even before the first Veterans Day, then known as Armistice Day. Since that time, we've been committed to growing our programs and services to meet the needs of veterans and other individuals facing challenges to employment.
Here at Goodwill®, we recently launched our newly updated GoodProspects® website, an innovative digital platform designed to help people connect with the resources and relationships they need to find a job and advance in their career.
This 21st-century tool allows people in hard-to-reach areas (or with very busy lives) to have digital access to critical career services. Users who sign up for GoodProspects have access to Goodwill's virtual career mentors, interactive goal-setting features, message boards, and listings of job-related events. In honor of Veterans Day, GoodProspects has launched a series of whiteboard videos that explore how military veterans can transition their skills by connecting with service and civilian resources, including Goodwill career counselors and GoodProspects virtual career mentors.
GoodProspects is just one of many exciting new online tools available to job seekers. As a 2010 study showed, job-training and skill development services make a huge impact in people's job salaries. People who participate in a nonprofit training program earn on average 29 percent more than those who don't. Programs don't have to be located in physical rooms to be successful. Digital spaces provide exciting, interactive forums for enterprising new discussions to take place.
As 2015 enters its final months, make a promise to yourself that you will take the steps necessary to help you and your family achieve great things in 2016.