With its strong foundation as a military friendly school, Brandman University is proud to share success stories of community members that positively impact the lives of military personnel and their families. Last May we highlighted alumnus Mike Tassin and his valuable contributions helping veterans find jobs by working with Operation: GoodJobs in Tacoma, Washington. Today, Brandman is excited to catch up with Tassin and congratulate him for receiving the Innovation Award, presented by the Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region (formerly Tacoma Goodwill).
In less than two years, Tassin has expanded Operation: GoodJobs, taking the role of veterans services manager. He has grown the initial program significantly by helping an increasing number of veterans learn in-demand skills and start new careers. As the need for additional organizational support grew, he also increased staffing and established new partnerships with local companies that want to hire veterans.
“The most rewarding in all this is the ability to use a number of qualities I possess, and I get to set the rules,” says Tassin, himself a seasoned Army veteran. “If something’s not working, we can change it. There’s not a lot of red tape.” In his role, he oversees programs, counsels veterans, helps them with their financial situations and connects them with various resources. In fact, a staff member briefly interrupted our interview to get the ‘okay’ to buy tools for a veteran beginning a job in the construction industry. So far, in part because of Tassin’s efforts, 441 veterans have enrolled in Operation: GoodJobs with 270 successfully hired into new jobs.
As part of his initiative to expand the organization’s corporate and community relations, many new networking opportunities for veterans have been added to the calendar. Notable upcoming dates include:
- April 1: Job Hiring Class with Wells Fargo
- April 9-10: Learning Lead Lab with other Operation: GoodJobs sites
- April 26: Coffee Tasting and Job Fair with Starbucks
The goal of expanding partnerships is to share strategies on education and workforce development. Veterans and their family members are encouraged to join the Operation: GoodJobs network to keep in touch with future events.
“Our new sites need to know what to expect,” Tassin says. “We’re going to get in the weeds and really talk details on how to make this happen.” For example, one of the new affiliations includes a community store with Starbucks located at the intersection of Highway 12 and South Tacoma Way in Lakewood. The coffee powerhouse donates 10 cents of each transaction at store to the Operation: GoodJobs program in Tacoma.
It takes more staff members to manage the growing range of services and programs. Staying true to the organization’s mission, Tassin hires people with a passion for helping military veterans. His staff of seven and two interns is made up of veterans or spouses of military service members. “We’ve built a great team,” says Tassin. “I can’t do all of this stuff by myself, and these people live it.” For his efforts, Goodwill honored him with the Innovation Award late last year. We proudly congratulate him for all he has achieved.
Tassin credits his education for a lot of his success. He completed his bachelor’s degree in human resources at Western Washington University, and earned his Master of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Chapman University College, now Brandman University.
If there’s a downside to the program’s expansion, Tassin notes that he’s a little further “removed from clients, and forced to focus more on numbers.” But there is a remedy for that too. He is now a licensed therapist and counsels clients in a small private practice in Lacey, Washington. As Tassin puts it, “It’s what keeps me grounded and in touch with those I serve.”