Adam Bode served in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer Second Class Damage Control aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz from 2003 to 2008. He deployed to the Persian Gulf three times and completed one tour to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Bode’s specialties of service were firefighting, emergency response, and chemical/biological/radiological warfare defense.
When he returned home to Lancaster after his discharge, Bode immediately began looking for work. He struggled to find employment using the skill set he had obtained in the Navy and physical problems related to his service prevented him from pursuing a career as a firefighter. He decided to use the GI Bill and advance his education. He completed his AS at Antelope Valley College in 2010 then transferred to CSULA to pursue his undergraduate degree. He was hospitalized several times during that period due to service related medical issues and almost dropped out of school. Fortunately there was a strong veteran community on campus that assisted Bode; he graduates this Friday with a BS in Criminal Justice and minor in Philosophy Pre-Law.
Bode started his employment search in his senior year knowing that the job market was tough and he had more than just himself to worry about as he had recently become engaged. He knew he would have no source of income after school. He applied to over 100 positions and interviewed for two positions that would not have covered his expenses. Bode says, “I was at my wits-end and my fiancé and I were a few weeks away from being homeless.” He then remembered that Goodwill offered career assistance and employment programs. He contacted the Veteran Employment Program offices and, after his initial intake interview, enrolled in the program. Shortly thereafter a Business Services Representative position opened up within the program; Bode interviewed and was offered the job.
Now, as part of Bode’s focus, he works with veteran college students to help them prepare for and transition into civilian employment. He counsels students by identifying their professional interests and skills to help direct their educational emphasis and put them on a successful career pathway before they graduate. And, he serves local businesses by connecting these talented graduates to job opportunities within their organizations. Bode helps veterans avoid the pitfalls of long employment gaps during the transition from college to career when many like Adam find their resources expire, and ultimately may battle with bouts of homelessness which can further impede their ability to secure employment.
Bode’s long term ambition is to become an attorney and help advocate for veterans. He has taken the LSAT exam as a first step towards reaching that goal. Goodwill is fortunate to have such a strong role model and determined individual serving our Veteran Employment Program and we proudly recognize Bode as our Veteran of the Year.