San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ partnership with Goodwill Southern California has helped us serve thousands of job seekers at a time when the economy remains uncertain for the most vulnerable in our community. San Manuel’s support started in 2009 at the height of the Great Recession, and has funded services that offer job seekers a second chance – training in a new career, workshops, referrals, transportation assistance, and a good job. By doing so, San Manuel has invested not only in individuals who are now working and able to care for their families with dignity, but more importantly, in the whole community.
This year, we focused San Manuel’s funding of half a million dollars (thank you – wholeheartedly!) to expand services to veterans from Riverside to San Bernardino, including the High Desert. Our Veteran Employment Program came out of this collaboration and in its first year, it has shown promise and success in getting veterans who have been unemployed for extended periods of time back to work. Here is one such veteran whose life has changed thanks to this partnership. It illustrates the impact the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have made in the lives of vulnerable job seekers in our community.
Marine Corps veteran Augustine Hays went on almost 100 job interviews after graduating college, but because of her lack of work experience, employers wouldn’t give her a chance. Her husband worked overtime at his job while Augustine was unemployed, but they still couldn’t enjoy the simple things, like going to the movies or the zoo with their kids, ages 2 and 4.
2 days after Christmas, the Hays family truck was vandalized right in front of their apartment, and thieves stole their stereo and car seat. The Hays family no longer felt safe at home, so Augustine and her husband decided to deplete their savings and move to a safer neighborhood. With their savings drained, Augustine knew time was running out.
In April of 2016, Augustine was referred to the San Bernardino Goodwill Career Resource Center, where she met Veteran Service Specialist Ruben Cruz. Ruben assisted Augustine with everything from building her resume to obtaining professional work attire and practicing mock interviews. Shortly after entering the Veteran Employment Program, Augustine was hired as a Job Coach at Goodwill. 2 months later, Augustine took a position as a Business Service Representative, helping veterans fight their way out of the same struggle she overcame- right here at Goodwill Southern California. Augustine has truly come full circle.
“Through career training, employment development, and community resources, we create opportunities that empower Veteran’s to enhance their quality of life.”
– Senior Intelligence Analyst, US Army veteran Thomas McDaniel, Veteran Services Navigator