Employer Spotlight - Swords to Plowshares

Featured Veterans - Swords to Plowshares

A National Model for Veteran Services and Advocacy

OEWD has provided funding for four consecutive years to Swords to Plowshares, a community-based, not-for-profit veteran service organization that provides wrap-around services to more than 3,000 veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area each year. Swords is committed to helping veterans break through the cultural, educational, psychological and economic barriers they often face in their transition to the civilian world.

“War causes wounds and suffering that last beyond the battlefield. Swords to Plowshares’ mission is to heal the wounds, to restore dignity, hope, and self-sufficiency to all veterans in need, and to prevent and end homelessness and poverty among veterans. All veterans will have access to the care and services they need to rebuild their lives.”

Swords to Plowshares is a national model for veteran services and advocacy. With nearly 40 years of experience, they have established the most respected and comprehensive model of care for veterans in the country, with core services that include:

Swords has a long track record of success helping veterans to lead stable and healthy lives and are nationally recognized for their expert leadership and continued dedication to improving the systems upon which our veterans rely.

In collaboration with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), Swords to Plowshares operates a Veterans Neighborhood Access Point and offers a myriad of workforce services, including employment events (career fairs, employment spotlights and hiring events) focused on connecting veterans to careers for veterans that match their skills, education and experience.  

Spotlight Story - Gary Bonkowski

Gary Bonkowski

Gary is an honorably discharged OIF/OIR Army veteran who served as a Logistics Officer for over 10 years. Gary came to Swords to Plowshares wanting to improve his resume and work on his interviewing technique. Gary worked on creating a more cohesive resume that accurately reflects his military experience and his extensive education in logistics so that employers would be able to quickly and efficiently understand the vast array of skills and talent he has to offer. While working with Swords, Gary received the support and encouragement he needed to feel confident applying for higher level positions and going through rigorous interview processes. Gary was able to receive assistance from Swords so that he could attend interviews across the Bay Area and after a multi-step interview session, Gary landed his dream job as a Field Operations Lead at Google Express.

"The Swords to Plowshares [Employment and Training] team is a wonderful group of caring professionals. Everyone I worked with provided exceptional support and did all that they could to assist me throughout the job search process. With an updated resume and cover letter I felt ready to apply for higher caliber positions. Thanks to their coaching I felt relaxed during my interview and was able to get the perfect job."

Spotlight Story - Chris Adame

Featured Veteran Chris Adame

Chris is an honorably discharged OIF/OND US Army veteran who served as cannon crewmember and now serves in the US Army Reserves as a drill sergeant, with nine years in service. Chris found out about Swords to Plowshares while searching for assistance in retaining his family’s apartment. The staff at Swords encouraged him to sign up for the Employment and Training program as a means of securing a sustainable income.

After a short time, his Job Developer encouraged him to apply for the Outreach Specialist position within the agency. Chris applied, successfully interviewed and was offered the position. Within four months, Chris found himself in a new position and in a new department. Chris was now the Workforce Community Liaison and operated as a member of the Swords to Plowshares Employment and Training department.

After this promotion, Chris was able to buy his family’s first home, excel within the reserves, and successfully  attain his career-long professional goal of becoming a drill sergeant. Within two short years of being with the Swords to Plowshares, Chris was entrusted to lead the special projects within the Employment and Training department, as the Workforce Development Manager. Chris served as the Workforce Development Manager until he was selected to instruct at the United States Army Drill Sergeant Academy as a Drill Sergeant Leader, where he will teach new drill sergeants.

“I came up through our E&T program. It works! I believe in it. It has changed my life for the better. We do great work and I have seen our efforts change other veteran’s lives, as well.”