Goodwill forges alliances to offer free career training and resources

More On:

at work

Should I call out my work colleague for being mean to me?

CEOs tell new grads what they wish they’d known from the start

My boss talks crazy, like about COVID conspiracies: Can I ask to be moved?

Should I quit college to become a cop?

When Maggie Nassour lost her job two years ago, she tapped into a free community resource to get schooled.

“I didn’t have a [high school] diploma,” said Massour, who had worked as an inspection and packaging manager with the same company for 21 years. “I was 44. Not having a diploma wouldn’t look good on a resume. It was always something that I wanted to do, but this pushed the urgency.”

The Clementon, New Jersey, resident went to the Helms Academy, a nonprofit education subsidiary of Goodwill Industries International in Stratford, New Jersey. She attended for three hours, three days each week. Although General Educational Development (GED) test preparation was the initial purpose, she also got a job coaching from Charles Jeffers, an adult-education coordinator for Goodwill. After passing the test, she landed a gig in January as a quality and safety manager.

“When you’re losing your job or not having a job, that support is huge,” Nassour said. “To be free, it’s amazing.”

Jeffers finds it rewarding to work one-on-one with students and help them achieve goals. “It’s good to play a small part in someone working to make their life better,” he said.

Careen Banks, a patient-care coordinator in Sicklerville, New Jersey, also tapped into the Helms Academy. She prepared for the HiSet exam, a high school diploma equivalent for adults. She attended at night while working full time and passed the exam in March. “[Goodwill] said you have to show up and be dedicated. I said, ‘Well, I can do that,’” Banks said.

Goodwill Industries International is a leading workforce provider, offering career fairs, job training and placement, as well as access to other assistance such as child care, financial education, mentoring and transportation, funded in part by the proceeds of donations in their Goodwill stores. In 2020, over 14,000 residents of New York and New Jersey received job training and retention services through Goodwill NYNJ.

Wendi Copeland, chief strategic-partnership activation officer of Goodwill Industries International, said that the people who come through their doors “have found their moment. They’ve recognized they want something better with their lives. They have the courage to say, ‘I’m willing to put in the work to build the skills and earn economic mobility.’ ”

To regroup from the pandemic, Goodwill has now launched a new coalition, called Rising Together, aimed at helping more people gain access to careers. By partnering with Google, Lyft, Indeed, Coursera and the Anthem Foundation, they aim to help more than a million people prepare for new and better jobs by 2025 through free job skills training and support.

“Thanks to the support of these partners, we’ll be able to accelerate our impact when it comes to getting people back to work,” said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Employment often offers not just pay, but benefits like insurance, transportation subsidies and child care. When people have the support they need, when we afford access to workforce advancement, we are affording people the ability to create social capital and provide for themselves, their families and communities.”

Copeland agreed. “To help people who want to get ahead, it’s going to take us all — public organizations, private companies and nonprofits like Goodwill,” she said. “It’s bringing all our resources together, so people can build their skills.”

One coalition ally, Lyft, offers a Jobs Access Program, which donates ride credits for candidates to attend interviews, job training and commuting during initial employment. Anyone seeking support can request donated Lyft rides via its digital hub; people can donate rides there, too. From there, Goodwill connects with individuals to distribute ride credits.

“Millions of people are underemployed, out of work, or can’t access reliable transportation and new opportunities,” said Joan Hanawi, Lyft’s social-impact manager. “Through this program and with our partners, we can provide access to rides people need to improve their lives.”

The Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem Inc., a health benefits company, invested $750,000 for a two-year initiative for local Goodwill organizations to provide training for participants pursuing healthcare careers. (It’s not currently available in New York City.)

Indeed, the online job search website, is partnering with Nomad-based Luminary, a career and personal growth platform for women, for a one-year fellowship to help 150 women across the country re-enter the workforce.

Goodwill’s collaboration with Indeed also includes the launch of a digital resource guide to help their career navigators and coaches maximize Indeed for job seekers.

Online course provider Coursera will shortly be offering 2,000 scholarships for veterans, underserved youth or anyone impacted by the criminal justice systems.

“[We will] connect thousands of learners with free access to job-relevant online learning, so they can develop the digital skills needed to unlock greater economic opportunity,” said Leah Belsky, chief enterprise officer at Coursera.

Coursera’s most popular professional certificate program is the Google IT support professional certificate. As of April, 82 percent of graduates said it helped them advance their career within six months.

“Certificates provide an industry-recognized way to demonstrate expertise, especially for those who do not have a degree,” said Jesse Haines, director of Grow With Google, which offers free job training and resources.

Accessibility to these resources is key, said Copeland. “There’s a job, then there’s the better job, then there’s the career. How can people move through those ABCs — building skills, accessing better opportunities and moving ahead? We’ve got to come together and seize the opportunity that the crisis has given us. Let’s make something good out of something that’s brought so much pain.”

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article