Press Room

November 18, 2013

Goodwill Contact:
Leslie Licano, Beyond Fifteen Communications


Goodwill of Orange County Enduring Independence Veteran's Program Launch Event Draws 200+ Local Business Leaders

O.C. Businesses Gather in Support of Goodwill of Orange County’s Newly Launched Enduring Independence Initiative Aimed at Creating Employment Opportunities for Young Veterans

NEWPORT BEACH/SANTA ANA, Calif. (Nov. 18, 2013) – In response to the staggering unemployment issues facing young veterans returning to civilian life, Goodwill of Orange County, a social enterprise organization in the business of helping people facing barriers to secure jobs that provide purpose, launched its Enduring Independence program with a kick-off event on Nov. 14, 2013. More than 220 local business leaders representing nearly 60 local companies turned out for the event to show their support for local veterans and their intent to hire veterans in the future.

The event, “Enduring Independence: Businesses Investing in Orange County Veterans,” was hosted by Goodwill of Orange County in partnership with the Orange County Business Council at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Leaders from Kaiser Permanente, UPS, OCTA, Rutan & Tucker, US Bank, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Edwards Lifesciences, DLD Insurance Brokers, Inc and AIG were among the evening’s attendees. Edison International was the evening’s title sponsor.

"Thursday night, as I said in my closing remarks, what started as a conversation is now about actions,” says Frank Talarico, Jr., president and CEO of Goodwill of Orange County. “I encourage the business community to not only participate in this conversation but also to DO something about the topic--hiring veterans. If nothing else, I am hopeful given the unique advantages veterans present employers, that Orange County business leaders will think differently the next time they have a chance to add a veteran to their team. It's just smart business."

The evening began with a performance by the renowned Woodbridge High School marching band, followed by a presentation of the colors by the United States Marine Corp color guard. Dr. Kevin Berry, vice president of the Samueli Institute, accepted an award for leadership in military medical research and spoke about his experience as a veteran and working with the veteran community. Thomas T. Tierney, CEO of Vitatech Nutritional Services Inc., was the evening’s keynote speaker, and spoke about the profound impact veterans can have on a business and its bottom line.

“Factually, veterans are good for business,” says Tierney. “They possess robust skill sets, maturity, accountability, and a deep sense of America that was earned through voluntary service to our country. Hiring a young veteran is a smart business decision and will pay exceptional dividends. Goodwill of Orange County’s initiative on behalf of veterans has set a precedent for future programs on a much larger scale.”

Enduring Independence is the nation's only veteran service program that rebrands the young veteran by highlighting the “vet advantages” that 21-29 year old veterans have as a result of their service over other potential employees of the same age who do not have military experience. By 2020, Enduring Independence aims to assist in opening 10,000 doorways into Orange County’s business community for young veterans; and by serving as a national model, hopes to inspire other local business communities to open up 500,000 more hiring doorways.

Local business leaders who are interested in supporting young veterans through Enduring Independence should contact Jenna Lombardo, director of Enduring Independence Veteran Services at 714.640.8360 or

About Goodwill of Orange County
Now in its 89th year, Goodwill of Orange County is in the business of helping people who are facing barriers to enter the workforce in a meaningful, fulfilling manner. Founded on the belief that every person should have the opportunity to achieve the independence that work provides, Goodwill is most famous for being the conduit where donated goods are sold in America's favorite thrift stores to generate the revenue that provides the services to those who face employment challenges. Goodwill is our country's leader in creating and providing quality training and employment services to empower individuals to be productive and independent. In 2012, Goodwill was named one of Orange County's Most Trusted Brands.