81.I Didn’t Get The Memo…Again!

The Home Of The Morons 

I just do not understand why those boys and girls at the Veterans Administration do not put me on the distribution list for all of those important emails… It would save me a lot of time wondering about things when I could be doing something else like informing you about how damn crazy they really are!

I found an excellent memo, one that they should not have written, one that should have been shredded, decimated, balled up, bounced off the Secretary of the VA’s head like a bowling ball. Just to say when I was finished reading this memo I was so pissed off I wanted to kill someone. Here is the Whole Memo:

VA and Goodwill Industries Create Partnership

September 24, 2001 (I know its old but the program is still active)

WASHINGTON — Veterans who need job training and placement will have new opportunities to enter the workforce under a national agreement between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Goodwill Industries International, Inc.

Under the program, called Transitional Work Experience (TWE), participating local Goodwill Industries agencies will hire formerly homeless veterans, as well as veterans participating in VA’s mental health programs, who are enrolled in VA’s Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) programs.

“This agreement will benefit many veterans who are unemployed, while assisting Goodwill agencies that may be facing a labor shortage,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi.  “I have asked everyone in VA to look at ways of increasing our participation with community-based organizations.  This kind of national partnership will create opportunities for many people, and working with Goodwill Industries will help ensure workplace success for our veterans.”

The new program will provide temporary labor opportunities for formerly homeless veterans in a wide variety of jobs, including truck drivers, inventory management, general office work and production supervision.  Veterans may participate in TWE for up to six months.  

Goodwill Industries International is a network of 215 local, autonomous member organizations in the United States, Canada and 24 other countries.  Each organization serves people with disabilities and other needs by providing job training and employment services, as well as job placement opportunities and post-employment support.  

“Through this collaboration, veterans will receive paid on-the-job training, learn transferable job skills and gain valuable work experience,” said George W. Kessinger, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, Inc.  “Our goal is to help people find and keep employment, grow their careers, and become independent, tax-paying members of their communities.”

Many veterans participating in TWE will work for the industrial contracts divisions of local Goodwill agencies.  Goodwill fulfills industrial contracts for national and local businesses, as well as government agencies, and assists with employers’ temporary manpower needs.  These contracts provide opportunities for people to learn necessary job skills while earning a paycheck.  In 2000, Goodwill earned nearly $357 million through these contract services, while creating 23,292 jobs.  

VA’s Compensated Work Therapy and Transitional Residence Programs, offer structured work opportunities and supervised therapeutic housing for at-risk and homeless veterans with physical or mental disabilities and substance abuse problems.  The veterans are paid for their work and, in turn, participate in the maintenance and upkeep of their residences.

“Through this work, veterans have the chance to learn new job skills, relearn successful work habits, and regain their sense of self-esteem and self-worth,” said Principi. “I want this program to work, and I’m excited about the future potential of expanding our efforts with Goodwill.” 

In 2000 GOODWILL EARNED in one year $357,000,000.00 from their program? How much will they earn with help from the VA by farming out homeless veterans for Therapeutic Work Training? What Job Skills will they learn?  Forget the little black dress! Goodwill will own Tiffany’s now! I have been trying to research what “job training for reintegration” homeless veterans can receive and now I find it finally. They are not learning paying skills that will earn them enough to pay their way into having a place of their own. The homeless veteran is being trained in LABOR. He is being used as a dog by others in menial taskings and recieving little or no training period. Physical disabilities? what are their compensation levels? Mental disabilities? I personally am outraged that the DAV, American Legion and VFW did not jump all over the VA’s butt all over this one but of course they probably did not pay attention to this with convention season coming up.

I do not see this program “growing anyones careers” as it says hopefully in the above memo. All I have seen is keeping people at a minimum wage level, drying them out off of toxins for approximately seven months (1 month dry out and 6 months transitional) and sending them maybe to another transitional living center where they will be frustrated with minimum wage skills and fall off the wagon again. This will lead back into the cycle of homelessness again. Oh by the way, these veterans are not “formerly homeless” they still are homeless if they are living in transitional housing. Not until they are living in permanent housing are they not homeless. Permanent housing is the part of the program that the VA has yet to accomplish in its Continuum of Care for homeless veterans and they are certainly not going to accomplish it training homeless veterans to earn minimum wage either.

Oh there is a limit now that a homeless veteran is only allowed to do this program now THREE TIMES in a lifetime. It is not a wonder the VA is not training our homeless veterans how to cross the border into Mexico the way the VA treats them.

NOTE: Mr. Principi is no longer VA Secretary.



3 Responses to “81.I Didn’t Get The Memo…Again!”

  1. November 27, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    The only “skill” that anyone will ever learn working for any of the Goodwill warehouses is how to sort through what others have discarded – which to me doesn’t exactly translate into “… transferable job skills” by any stretch of the imagination.

    But then again, I’m not as good at fantasizing as Secretary of Veterans Affairs Mr. Principi is.

    The sad part is that the majority of what folks “donate” to Goodwill ends up in Goodwill dumpsters and not in their retail outlets. And even those items that do make it to the “shelves” only have a “shelf life” of about 30 days. After that it’s to the land fill.

    If the VA wants to throw away $357 million dollars annually I – like you – can find more constructive and effective ways of taking those funds and helping those of our nations Veterans who find themselves homeless and need a way to transition back into society.

  2. 2 An American
    November 27, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Gee.. this memo should be titled “VA Outsources Job Training and Placement Program to Goodwill”. While Goodwill Industries does have some very commendable efforts in providing training and skills within the community, I think that veterans deserve to have a program that is for veterans. Afterall, veterans have a proven work history with their time in the military which is not the case with the majority of the Goodwill employee population. It seems that this money would be better spent coordinating training programs with the private business sector to allow for employment that allows veteran reemergence into professions that offer a real shot at “gainful ” employment. They might better use funding to support training of skills that don’t underemploy veterans in the work force.
    It strikes me as appauling that the VA hasn’t placed funding on exsisting organizations of veterans suchas AmVets who compete for merchandise that might be donated to Goodwill.
    It would serve the VA well to reexamine it’s mission statement because it seems that they have strayed from the population who they have been hired to serve.

  3. November 28, 2007 at 2:35 am

    One last thought before I lay me down to sleep…

    I was reading a FAQ published by the SBA’s Office of Advocacy.

    Question #10 asked:

    “What is the role of women, minority, and veteran entrepreneurs?” (which you can find at:


    The answer suprised me:

    “Male veterans’ self-employment rates were higher than
    those of non-veterans from 1979 to 2004. The rate was 13.7 percent in 2003, compared to 12.2 percent for non-veterans.”

    Perhaps, the VA should take a hint and start helping homeless Veterans get SBA loans instead of “farming” out Vets to Goodwill Industries, because – according to the same FAQ:

    “According to a study on veteran business ownership, about 22 percent of veterans in the U.S. household population were either purchasing or starting a new business or considering purchasing or starting one in 2004, and almost 72 percent of these new veteran entrepreneurs planned to employ at least one person at the outset of their new venture.”

    Not only would something like that help our nation’s homeless Veterans, but it would also create new jobs for someone else as well.

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