Edmonds Military Wire: Your next mission — find a job

Mike SchindlerBy Michael Schindler

If you are a transitioning service member, the prospect of finding a new job in the civilian world can almost seem like “mission impossible.” Today’s headlines typically don’t highlight a company that is doing a massive job hiring, but rather quite the opposite: 200-300 layoffs at T-Mobile and 800 or so to be blessed and released from Boeing. But there is hope – real hope – in finding that next job with Operation: GoodJobs.

Operation: GoodJobs is a program partnered between Tacoma Goodwill and the Walmart Foundation to assist veterans and their families who are transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce by providing employment opportunities and support along the way.

And it is under the leadership of Mike Tassin, someone who has faced the issues and has boots-on-ground experience.

I had the great privilege of sitting with locally renowned TV personality, Margo Myers. Aside from being quite professional and delightful (oh, I’m getting old… “delightful” is an old person’s word), which is a testament to the work she does through Springboard Academy on how to make great first impressions, she works with Brandman University ( formerly Chapman University College) on helping our service members, veterans and their families elevate their educations and careers for a better outcome.

She shared Mike’s story with me – and it is quite inspiring (and not just because his name is Mike).

Tassin served eight years in the Army, including a one-year deployment to Iraq in 2003. He drove fuel trucks around Iraq, dodging gunfire, incoming missiles, and IED’s. According to Ms. Myers, Tassin said his experience was “nerve-wracking,” and despite suffering a serious back injury while deployed in Iraq, he was determined to accomplish his “next mission” goals: serving people.

It was during humanitarian missions delivering food and other supplies to the Iraqi people that Tassin says things “clicked” for him. “I have always been interested in the human mind,” said Tassin. “And on this mission, I realized that so many issues could be solved just by helping people communicate what they need.”

Tassin initially took classes studying Social Services Mental Health at Pierce College, earning his Associates degree. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Human Services at Western Washington University. During this time, he worked for Tacoma Goodwill in Tacoma as a retention specialist.

He knew that to work in the mental health field when he left the military, he would need his Master’s degree. He earned his Master’s in Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University College, now Brandman University.

Because of his determination and a clear purpose, he now heads up Operation: GoodJobs. He’s hired a staff of three, and coordinates interns and volunteers that together have served 285 people, with 150 of them finding jobs since last April.

Here is what is powerful behind Operation: Good Jobs – sure, it assists veterans and their families in developing professional résumés reflecting experience and skills, particularly how skills obtained in the military can be beneficial to a civilian business. But it goes beyond just the “resume.”

– Each veteran is pre-screened for suitability in the position.
– Each veteran undergoes a skills assessment to ensure the best fit for the job.
– They use WOWI, which is a career testing program that helps narrow down interests in order to find an occupation most suitable to the participant. In addition, WOWI measures career interests, career training potentials, and job satisfaction indicators, learning styles and work patterns.
– They’ve built relationships (the “who you know” part of today’s job market) with the hiring managers and HR departments in the community to assist the veterans to locate employment.
– Each veteran and family participates in the Family Financial Strengthening program to promote financial responsibility.

Bottom line: Today’s economic and employment environment is temperamental at best. To navigate these channels requires experienced leadership – a “pilot” who has “been there” and come out the other side. If you or someone you know wants to learn more, reach out to Mike Tassin at 253-573-6653 or email him at: mtassin@tacomagoodwill.org.

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.


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