Paul Cruz & Ruth LaToison Ifill : Coming Soon!


Goodwill® and The Walmart Foundation Helped 6,306 of America’s Heroes Find Jobs


Paul Cruz, Washington State MilitaryTransition Council Project Manager, Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Cruz served 15 years in the Army National Guard and used Operation: GoodJobs to gain employment.


Ruth LaToison Ifill, Veterans and Military Families Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International

As Americans take time to honor veterans on Memorial Day, Goodwill continues its commitment to meet their specialized employment needs. Goodwill honors their service by providing veterans and military families with tailored job training, and career and transitional services to help them find jobs as civilians and build their careers once their military service ends.

In 2013, the jobless rate for all Veterans was nearly 7 percent; for non-veterans, it was 6.4 percent. During this time, U.S. government reports also revealed that nearly 10 percent of post-911 era veterans were experiencing unemployment. In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for American veterans fell to its lowest level in 7 years, which many economists attribute to an improving job market in conjunction with programs that put service men and women to work. The unemployment rate for all veterans was 4.6 percent for 2015.

Goodwill Industries International received a $5 million grant from The Walmart Foundation in the spring of 2012, which enabled Goodwill to expand Operation: GoodJobs, a program that helps veterans and their families find meaningful work and gain financial stability.

Since the launch, Operation: GoodJobs has successfully served more than 6,306 veterans and military family members across the country by providing the tools and resources they need to achieve their educational, career and financial goals.

For many Veterans, the transition from military service to the civilian workforce has proven difficult. Some veterans found that the skills they developed to protect their country were not transferring easily to their civilian lives. Others found their lack of education or job experience created obstacles. That is why Operation: GoodJobs has been so important. Goodwill applies its vast experience in helping people find work to address the employment difficulties many military veterans face. Additionally, Goodwill works with business partners to match potential employees with employers, and it provides participants with job search assistance and free employment placement, screening and support services.

Through April 2017, Operation: GoodJobs program participants from 12 Goodwill organizations in five states can receive Goodwill training and educational and career supports specialized for their particular needs.

From April 2011 through March 31, 2016, there have been 3,969 Veteran and military family members hired by Goodwill and 202,365 Veteran and military family members served by Goodwill.

Schedule an interview to hear how Operation: GoodJobs helped Paul Cruz find employment and continue his career after serving in the armed forces; how his employer, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, has benefitted from the partnership with Goodwill, and the impact of the Operation: GoodJobs program across the nation.


Paul Cruz, Washington State Military Transition Council Project Manager, Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs

Paul Cruz is a veteran who served 15 years in the Army National Guard. He joined the Army National Guard right out of high school and headed for infantry training, completing basic training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA. When he returned, he attended a local university, working toward a degree in criminal justice and public administration. While at school, he participated in the ROTC program on campus and held part-time jobs including his Guard commitment. After graduating, he served as an active-duty field artillery officer in the Army. For the next 15 years, he served his country at company, battalion and brigade levels in staff positions, as U.S. Liaison to the Republic of Korea Ground Component Command, and also in multiple tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). Toward the end of his service, he was assigned to a command at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA. Due to medical issues, he retired. He discovered Operation: GoodJobs at a transition course with the Army in 2014, which helped him to transition into a civilian career.


Ruth LaToison Ifill, Veterans and Military Families Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International (GII)

Ruth LaToison Ifill is the veterans and military families program manager for Goodwill Industries International (GII). A military spouse, she joined GII in 2013 as the program manager for the Vested in Veterans program. As the veterans and military families program manager, she leads GII’s efforts to reskill and retrain veterans to put them back to work quickly in positions that give them the sustainability to support their families. Ifill manages GII’s national relationships with veteran-centric organizations and equips local Goodwill organizations to provide a high standard of service through a focus on wraparound services and community partnerships. Before coming to GII, she managed programs for a local nonprofit serving inner-city youth in Washington, DC. Ifill holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Howard University and is pursuing a Master of Organizational Development at Trinity Washington University.

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