A Veteran’s Career Takes Off at Goodwill
U.S. Air Force vet finds career fulfillment in new role as Goodwill retail manager
When 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran Daniel Haddock found himself on the job hunt last year, he never expected such a fight.
Having recently completed a government contract job in Kuwait, he was ready to leverage his military experience into a civilian job in the United States. During his six-month search, Haddock applied for more than 50 jobs. He interviewed often and experienced the frustration of automated email rejection letters or no response at all.
Haddock was ready to give up the search, lamenting the lack of a local job search resource. He even had a Plan B: an overseas security contractor gig in the Marshall Islands.
A conversation with a Goodwill recruiter at a job fair changed Haddock’s outlook for good.
“I learned how Goodwill was really geared toward people with leadership experience–working with teams and groups,” Haddock said. “From a veteran’s perspective, it was attractive.”
Haddock interviewed and accepted an offer to be a Retail Assistant Manager for a Goodwill store in Hampton. “I looked over the job description and it seemed well within my abilities. Best of all, it didn’t have any clear and present signs of danger!” Haddock joked.
Hampton Roads boasts one of the highest veteran populations in the country. Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia embraces the opportunity to support and train those veterans seeking to enter or re-enter the workforce. In 2015, the organization served more than 600 veterans.
“Veterans have skills and experiences such as leadership and teamwork that are highly valued by employers,” said Shawn Smith, director of Job Readiness for Goodwill. “We’re always looking for new ways to reach veterans struggling to find their place in the workforce, and to help them translate their skills to civilian employment.”
Goodwill provides individual needs assessments, soft skills and technical skills training, job search support and job placements—free of charge to job-seekers—at five Community Employment Centers (CECs) in Central and Coastal Virginia.
“Our mission is to help those with challenges to securing employment,” Smith added. “Lack of education, work experience, transportation and childcare as well as disabilities, histories of incarceration and homelessness are among the many challenges they face.”
Today, Haddock’s career is looking bright. He was promoted to Manager at the neighboring Goodwill Outlet.
“I’ve been recommending many people to Goodwill,” he said. “It’s very well-organized and managed, and the training level is very high.”
Haddock has done more than transition into the civilian workforce. He’s also traded one mission for another. In fact, he points to the Goodwill mission as a big reason his new job is so fulfilling.
“Goodwill’s core values of respect, innovation, learning, teamwork, commitment and integrity are not just words on paper,” Haddock said. “These values are evident here every day.”
Editor’s Note: Goodwill’s newest Community Employment Center will open in Hampton in February 2017. It will include four classrooms, computers for public use and meeting space for job-seekers and community partners. Read more about this CEC here.