Military members transitioning from active duty to civilian life face many challenges when they return home – not the least of which is the ability to obtain high-paying, rewarding career opportunities. Although educated, trained and highly skilled, these veterans often find themselves less competitive in the professional marketplace compared with civilian candidates who have taken a more traditional path.
Enter Operation New Uniform (ONU), a Jacksonville-based non-profit organization dedicated to addressing these challenges by equipping veterans with the business acumen, career search skills, confidence and networking connections to thrive in the business world (operationnewuniform.org). The program immerses veterans in a positive team environment comprised of successful veterans, business professionals and accomplished educators, and gives them the tools and resources to secure meaningful careers.
On Wednesday, December 7, nine veterans who have graduated from the program will be honored during a graduation ceremony scheduled to take place in THE PLAYERS Championship Media Center at TPC Sawgrass, 110 Championship Way, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The event will be supported by the PGA TOUR and its Birdies for the Brave military outreach initiative.
“We are indebted to the many local companies, individuals and organizations that have so passionately supported our program and helped to transform the lives of our courageous American heroes, who selflessly put their lives on the line to keep America safe and free,” said ONU Executive Director Justin Justice.
Guest speakers at the event will include David Hensley, a member of the PGA TOUR Veterans Committee; ONU graduate and newly-hired GE employee Donald Farley; local business executives and veterans; and members of the media. During the ceremony, Operation New Uniform will award its Above and Beyond Award recipient for 2016.
ONU Cohort 16 graduates will include:
- Allan Amos Jr., 32-year Army veteran with a Master of Science degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University.
- Christopher Hancock, five-year transitioning Navy veteran with a Master in Healthcare Administration from Walden University.
- James Jackson, eight-year Marine Corps veteran with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Management from DeVry University.
- Jeff Townsend, 20-year Navy veteran with a Master of Science degree in Management of Integrated logistics and Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
- Jewel Augustus, 20-year Navy veteran with an MBA from Columbia Southern University and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from St. Leo University.
- John Connors, 20-year Navy veteran with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Columbia College.
- Keary Schear, 24-year Navy veteran with a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies from Roger Williams University.
- Vincent Ford, 21-year Navy veteran with a Master of Business Administration from Jacksonville University.
- Yolande Goodman, five-year Marine Corps veteran with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from New School University.