When most people think of Goodwill, they think about cleaning out their closets. But accepting donations of “gently used” goods and selling those donated items in Goodwill retail stores is only part of what the organization does.
“We are in the business of helping people find jobs,” said Elizabeth McDaniels, director of mission services at Goodwill of Southern Nevada. “Our retail stores fund our job training, job education and job placement services. We offer help to anyone who is looking for work.”
Goodwill of Southern Nevada not only serves individuals with disabilities through various programs that offer real work environments to address job readiness skills such as punctuality, motivation, social skills and physical stamina. But Goodwill of Southern Nevada also has two Career Connections Centers, which offer employment and training help to all job seekers, no matter their challenge.
“Our Goodwill is locally run and operated so we can directly address critical needs in our community,” McDaniels said. “The ongoing high unemployment rate here in Southern Nevada means we needed to expand our services to help those who had lost a job due to layoffs or need to be retrained for an alternate career.”
Goodwill of Southern Nevada’s two Career Connections Centers offer free Internet access and help for job seekers. Each center is staffed with employment specialists who can work with job seekers one on one to help identify work skills, experience and interests as well as create an employment plan to help overcome barriers that may be preventing a job candidate from getting or keeping a job.
“Last year, our Career Connections program helped more than 1,800 people in our community find work at a variety of local businesses,” McDaniels said. “Helping someone get a job is not only life changing for that individual, but for their families, as well.”
A growing population of job seekers in Southern Nevada that needs help is veterans. One out of every seven veterans in Nevada is unemployed, which is one of the highest veteran unemployment rates in the nation. Thirty-five thousand unemployed veterans live in Clark County .
“We can’t think of a better way to honor those who served our country than to help them find work, especially in this challenging economy,” Goodwill of Southern Nevada President and CEO Steve Chartrand said.
Nevada Women’s Philanthropy grant
L ast year, Nevada Women’s Philanthropy elected to award its $350,000 grant to Goodwill of Southern Nevada to launch a Veteran Integration Program that helps veterans and their spouses find jobs in Southern Nevada. The program officially launched in January.
“Each and every year presents a challenging decision for our members to select which agency is the recipient of our grant,” Nevada Women’s Philanthropy President Carrie Henderson said. “This year was no different. Goodwill will spend this gift wisely, and we are sure it will have a lasting impact for Goodwill and the people it serves.”
The grant pays for the program’s startup costs, which include hiring three full-time career specialists who have military backgrounds and understand the challenges veterans and their spouses often face when entering or re-entering the workforce. About 400 veterans will be served through this program’s two-year launch.
The program will be run out of Goodwill’s two Career Connections Centers.
CITIBANK FREEDOM ROOM
Thanks to a generous $20,000 grant from Citibank, an unoccupied room inside Goodwill’s corporate headquarters has been transformed to a state-of-the-art job training space designed to host job readiness and life skills workshops for unemployed Southern Nevadans, specifically veterans and their family members.
The Citibank Freedom Room features a dramatic full-wall, hand-painted mural by local veteran Christian Gabriel, new modular furniture, audio visual equipment and a smart board — a digital and interactive white board specially designed for teaching and presenting.
“Citibank not only transformed this room, they are transforming lives by helping us give veterans and their family members the necessary skills to find employment,” Chartrand said. “There is a reason why we call it the Citibank Freedom Room. The training that will be done in this state-of-the-art space will give hundreds, if not thousands, the ability to support themselves and achieve true independence.”
Through the Citi Salutes initiative, Citibank has a long-standing commitment to increase access to job training and job placement services to military service members, veterans and their immediate families. In 2011, Citibank sponsored a successful pilot program of Goodwill of Southern Nevada’s Veterans Empowering Themselves to Success initiative. That pilot program helped lay the groundwork for Goodwill of Southern Nevada’s long-term strategic plan to expand services dedicated to Nevada’s veteran population.