Goodwill Program: Operation Independence

Cheryl Godwin began her career with Nationwide Insurance as a college student, filing documents part-time as a utility clerk. After receiving her degree in Business Management from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, she was quickly hired in a full-time position.

During the next 18 years, Cheryl was promoted often, and she took advantage of the training and certifications that were offered through the company. She even created an internal training program and served as a mentor for newer employees.

Unfortunately, Cheryl had to leave Nationwide when her husband was called to active duty with the US National Guard in 2006. “Because this was such a good opportunity for my husband, we made the choice for me to stay at home with our two teenagers,” she said.

Now almost five years later, Cheryl’s son has just graduated from college and her daughter recently completed her first year. “I realized that it was time for me to get back into the workforce and contribute, but I didn’t know how to even start,” Cheryl said. “I’ve never had to search for a job before.”

When she landed a job at another insurance company, Cheryl wasn’t prepared for the challenges that she would face. “I like challenges, but I quickly realized that I just didn’t have the proper training and skills I needed to succeed in the job,” she said. Six months into the job, Cheryl decided to move on.

“I had only been out of the job market for a little more than three years, but I just got lost in the fold,” she said. That’s when her husband told her about Operation Independence, which provides veterans and their families with services including technology skills training, job placement, career counseling, and other support services.

Even though some career assistance services are offered on the military base where she lives, Cheryl chose Operation Independence because of the one-on-one training the program offers.

“When I heard about Operation Independence, it gave me such hope,” Cheryl said. “Many people don’t realize the sacrifices that military families make, so it was such a relief to know that the program is run by veterans who would really understand what we have gone through. We have a common bond.”

Cheryl is already working with career specialists on strengthening her resume and identifying the careers she should target. Her goal is to find a new career path and begin working toward that career by this summer.

“It’s very empowering to know that there is hope for military families,” Cheryl said.

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