Palmetto Goodwill helps veterans transition to civilian life through ‘Palmetto Warrior Connection’

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:22 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Palmetto Goodwill is committed to seeing every veteran live their best life after serving our country, including supporting those having a tough time transitioning to civilian life.

One of the ways the organization is helping is through the Palmetto Goodwill’s Palmetto Warrior Connection (PWC).

The team helps veterans succeed in multiple areas of their life including the workforce.

One of the employees helping to lead those efforts is a veteran, Joseph Queen. He says he knows from experience how challenging it is for vets like him to transition back into civilian life.

Queen served two enlistment contracts in the United States Coast Guard, including being stationed in New England along the Southeast Coast of Massachusetts.

After meeting his now-wife, he says they made a difficult decision to transition out of service into the civilian sector.

Queen says that’s when he learned firsthand how challenging it can be for a veteran to reintegrate back into society and get a job.

“I oftentimes reflect on what I knew when I transitioned and admittedly it was next to nothing,” Queen said.

That experience motivated him to join the PWC, a workforce development agency supporting vets statewide.

Queen says their career navigators help service members and veterans overcome employment barriers. Some of the services include assisting them with reworking their resume and learning how to navigate the web for potential job opportunities.

A big part of this program is free training and professional credentialing services so they can be in a position to jump into the career of their choosing.

“If you do not have the civilian credential in terms of what you did in service in the civilian sector if you don’t have that certificate if you don’t have that academic background, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be the best fit,” Queen said. “And that can be hard for a service member to understand, especially if you think you have the work history and training. But that’s where Palmetto Warrior Connection can provide value, we can look at the resume and look at where you’ve been, more importantly where you want to go, identify the training program that’s the best fit and start pushing the needle forward.”

Queen said the organization may also be in a position to support a veteran who’s enrolled in their training programs with some financial assistance services.

“So if we have you enrolled in a project management certification but you start falling behind in your rent, maybe we can provide some assistance there, but this is always a conversation the client will need to have with their career navigator,” he said.

Queen added, the PWC works closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans with additional hurdles, like mental health and housing-related needs, that could be preventing them from landing on their feet.

Queen wants veterans to know his team is there to make their transition to civilian life smoother.

“I need to make sure the veterans that transition today do know we’re here and what we offer,” he said.

Queen says it’s important for service members to consider their next potential career move now, so they can navigate their possible training options ahead of time.

Any Grand Strand service member or veteran interested in participating in PWC can connect remotely with the organization for services.

You’re required to complete the online inquiry for services form first, before later being connected with a career navigator to explore your career intentions and services.

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