Veterans Individualized Placement (VIP): Todd Lazetera
Todd Lazetera is one of many veterans that have reclaimed their lives and are back on the road to career success though participation in the Goodwill of Silicon Valley veteran program.
Todd is a US Army veteran, having served as a Medic from 1987-1990. After basic training at Fort Bliss and Combat Medic training at Fort Sam, he was stationed with the 224th Forward Support Battalion of the 3rd Infantry at Fort Stewart, Georgia. “Towards the end of my duty we participated in training maneuvers in Turkey just prior to the start of Desert Storm,” said Todd.
Soon after the birth of his daughter, Todd's family fell on hard times and became homeless. In early 2009, Todd was introduced to the veterans program at Goodwill of Silicon Valley. He enrolled and his life began to change. He secured housing for the family and had the opportunity to participate in the Veterans Individualized Placement (VIP) on-the-job training program. He started in mattress recycling and stuck to it. “It felt like basic training all over again but by the end of my six months in the on-the-job training program I had made myself indispensible" he shared. As a result, Goodwill management promoted him to Landscape & Custodial Lead of Facilities.
In early 2010, Todd's family moved to a beautiful three bedroom two bath home in Santa Clara. “It is the first "home" we have lived in together — everything previous was low income apartments,” Todd exclaimed proudly.
Todd has been married for eight years and feels blessed to have two beautiful children — a son who is almost seven and a two-year old daughter.
“I am so very grateful for the multitude of support I have found at Goodwill and am so proud to help other veterans who are walking a path very similar to the one I walked a short time ago,” Todd reflected.
Today, in Todd’s roll as the landscape/facility lead, he oversees our 16-acre, 165,000 square foot corporate facilities as well as 18 retail stores located throughout Silicon Valley. That's a lot of trees to trim and a lot of grass to mow!
In March 2010, Todd had an opportunity to participate in the Bay Friendly Coalition sustainable landscaping certificate program. The classroom training and fieldwork is rigorous, but Todd is undaunted. He already is formulating a proposal to significantly decrease water use and landscaping costs at our headquarters facility.
What really stands out is what Todd shared about his intentions after completing the landscape program and receiving his certification, “When I complete this program, I want to go back to other veterans and pay it forward. I want to help the landscaping association expand their program by reaching out to veterans and help my peers experience the same opportunity I was afforded.”
As a graduate of the Goodwill of Silicon Valley VIP program, it is particularly gratifying to see Todd on the road to greater success. Thanks to VIP, many other veterans who have dealt with a host of adversities are now on their own roads to success; meaningful career path work, stable housing and peace of mind.
A meaningful job is a great opportunity for our veterans, but a dedicated loyal employee is a great opportunity for an employer. Believe it or not, YOU can contribute to our ongoing success. How? Just keep your ears and eyes open for employment opportunities — perhaps a help wanted sign or an overheard conversation.
When this happens, please contact Job Developer Jeffrey Artz at (408) 242-3604. Because you never know... You may spark the future success of one of our veteran clients. Our veterans served our country — now they need our support.