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Team members: Row 1 (l-r): Katy Sides, Jermaine Whirl, Rachel Putman,
Danny Varat; Row 2 (l-r): Barry Richardson, Joe Pinilla, Kim Kegler

Fight4Her focuses on assisting female veterans in the Upstate with connections and resources that they might engage to more successfully transition from their military service to the private sector, especially in their search for meaningful employment. We learned of the need from our team member, Rachel Putman, through her work at Goodwill Industries of the Upstate. Rachel and Toia from her staff introduced us at an early team meeting to several female veterans, and our team formulated the project after hearing their stories of difficult transitions from military service to civilian life.

Our project has included the introduction of these veterans to services provided by the SC Department of Employment and Workforce, including resume-building, job-searching, and connection to training opportunities; the facilitation of meeting space specifically for female veterans, and participation in a recent Veterans Day job fair at the Greer City Hall that included presentations, a female veterans breakout session and a social/networking hour.

Team members have facilitated connections with public agencies, conducted one-on-one mock interviews with female veterans and participated in the job fair by focusing specifically on female veterans and their needs and concerns. Our goal is sustainability in the form of a web-based (Facebook/website) community offering any female veteran a one-stop venue for resources, ideas and even just contact with peers. This will be accomplished by building upon the existing loose network and basic website that can be enhanced.

Women make up 20 percent of new recruits, 15 percent of the active-duty force and 18 percent of the reserve and National Guard. Their service has made it possible for the Army to become all-volunteer. More than 2 million veterans are women. They make up 9 percent of the total veteran population of 21 million. South Carolina is home to over 43,000 female veterans and approximately 5000 live in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson area. Their needs differ in many ways from male veterans, but the resources often are hard to find--especially so far from a military installation like Fort Jackson or Beaufort. Fight4Her seeks to ensure that female veterans can find those resources and benefit from them just as we all have benefited from their service and sacrifice.