Pathways to Opportunity - Bob Woodruff Foundation

Pathways to Opportunity

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With the support of the NFL and the Bob Woodruff FoundationNextOp works to connect veterans with jobs that allow their skills to flourish.

A lack of opportunity should never be confused with a lack of ability. Military service helps cultivate skills and habits that are extremely valuable for the workplace. Teamwork, perseverance, communication, and planning are all abilities sought after by most employers. Despite possessing these highly marketable traits for the workforce, the men and women who protect the United States both domestically and abroad often encounter challenges with finding quality career opportunities after their service has concluded.

NextOp, a Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) grantee, works to connect veterans with jobs that allow their skills to flourish. By bridging the gap between veterans seeking employment and industries in need of their skills, NextOp is helping solve problems for both job seekers and employers. They work one-on-one with veterans to understand their specific skill sets and then work to identify an ideal employer.

BWF works to find, fund, and shape innovative programs that benefit our veterans and their families. Our goal in partnering with NextOp was to help them expand their reach. We helped NextOp expand its initial service offerings from Texas into Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Additionally, BWF also assisted in implementing a long-term survey process to improve NextOp’s evaluation process and to increase their impact.

One veteran who can personally attest to this impact is U.S. Army Veteran Kevin Route.

“I am honored and privileged to have been connected with NextOp for employment services,” Route said.

While many recruiters may focus on immediate placement over the specific goals and needs of the job seeker, NextOp knows that a sustainable career can only be built by taking the time to connect the right candidate with the right organization.

“I know many Veterans, like myself, probably seek out veteran’s employment services for a quick hire,” Route continued. “My experience with NextOp and my employment coordinator was one of reflection; a truly transformational experience as opposed to an inauthentic transactional one. I am now serving in a career as an educator and football coach, transforming lives as well.”

Even in the best of circumstances, the quality of life we are afforded is often directly linked to our employment opportunities. In less than ideal economic circumstances, a lack of opportunity can lead to or increase ongoing challenges including undue mental stress and financial anxiety. BWF’s research into COVID-19 found that veterans may be more vulnerable to loss of income and mental health issues than the general population during a crisis.