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Goodwill Manasota receives grant to support veteran, military spouse upskilling

SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Veterans who are returning to civilian life face numerous challenges that can complicate re-integration into their families, communities and the workforce. Reconnecting with and re-establishing their role within the family, adjusting to daily life without the strict structure they had in the military, adapting to social changes, and finding “community” post-discharge can all be difficult. Entering or returning to the workforce can be particularly challenging: many veterans have never looked, applied or interviewed for a civilian job, and those who did work prior to their military service may need to learn new skills to stay competitive with their peers.

In an effort to help veterans and military spouses to increase their marketability in the workforce and achieve higher wages, the Bishop Parker Foundation Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation has awarded a grant of $10,000 to Goodwill Manasota to provide upskilling opportunities, through Goodwill’s American Veterans and Their Families program.

The American Veterans and Their Families program assists veterans and military spouses with reintegration to civilian life. Providing upskilling opportunities to this population has a significant impact on the type of job and the wage the job seeker can earn. Upskilling also helps veterans enhance their competitiveness in the job market and creates skill sets that are more relevant for today’s labor force needs. 

The objectives Goodwill expects to achieve with the funding from MCF include: to enroll at least 12 veterans and/or military spouses in upskilling opportunities; to verify completion of training for at least 10 participants; and confirm placement at a new job or promotion at an existing job for at least nine participants with an average wage of at least $19/hour.

Thanks to funding from the Manatee Community Foundation last year, Goodwill was able to enroll 13 veterans and/or military spouses in upskilling opportunities. The average hourly wage post-certification was $21.27.

Goodwill’s American Veterans and Their Families Program was created in 2013 to help veterans reintegrate into their families, communities and jobs. The program – which is staffed by veterans – provides comprehensive case management and vocational services, networking opportunities, and assistance in navigating the wide array of available social service programs.

“At Goodwill, we are proud to support those who have served our country as well as those whose spouses have served or are still on active duty and their families,” said Goodwill Manasota President and CEO Donn Githens. “With the support of the grant from the Bishop Parker Foundation Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation, we can continue to ensure opportunities exist for all who wish to better their prospects and enjoy life and career success.” 

In 2022, Goodwill Manasota served 402 veterans through the American Veterans and Their Families program and other services. Goodwill placed 78 veterans in jobs – including 44 veterans employed at Goodwill – and offered monthly meetings of the Lutz Buddy Up social club – which supports members of the military, veterans and first responders who are struggling with PTSD and/or who would benefit from peer-to-peer camaraderie – in Bradenton and Venice, for 144 veterans.

Goodwill is committed to upskilling all its team members. Toward that purpose, in 2022 the organization provided 158,628 hours in education and training for its team members and the employees of Goodwill partners.

For more about Goodwill, visit

About Goodwill Manasota

Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit or call 941-355-2721.

Additional Info

Media Contact : Sharon Kunkel

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