Bridging the Gap "Today’s Omaha Woman" Winter, 2015

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY

BY MARY LEE HARVEY DIRCKS

Goodwill Industries provides job training and educational opportunities for people to bridge the gap between public assistance and self-sufficiency. Many people don’t realize that it’s much more than a place to donate unwanted items or hunt for second-hand treasures. “When most people hear the name Goodwill, they think of our retail stores,” says Linda Kizzier, vice president of employment and training at Goodwill Industries. “Our retail operations support Goodwill’s mission to change lives and strengthen communities through education, training and work.” Goodwill’s training programs serve more than 2,700 people each year, placing more than 500 individuals in permanent jobs in Omaha and surrounding areas. “Everything Goodwill does centers around helping people find employment,” Kizzier adds.

The retail side of Goodwill funds training, education and career development, as well as job placement opportunities for the unemployed, underemployed and disabled. “We sit down one-on-one with every person who enrolls in our programs,” Kizzier says. Case managers help participants map out their desired career path to include realistic steps to move them in the direction of their goals and offer assistance to overcome employment barriers.

“Many of our adult clients have a high school diploma, but their literacy skills are below what they should be to be competitive for jobs that they have an aptitude for,” Kizzier notes. The Customer Connect Program, which trains participants in call center customer service skills, specifically addresses literacy deficiencies through academic testing and tutoring. The program is provided in partnership with Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and funded in part through a grant from the Department of Education. “A case manager works with everyone in the class to provide that additional academic support and to make sure they are on target to meet all the criteria to get that specialist diploma,” Kizzier says.

 

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#SecondhandSelfie Contest

SecondhandSelfie
Here at Goodwill, we often show off things that we find in our stores.  Funny things, retro things, designer things, all types of stuff.  But, they are all things that Goodwill employees find.  Well, that’s all about to change.
Starting today, Goodwill is launching #secondhandselfie, giving Goodwill shoppers the opportunity to share their awesome, unique Goodwill finds with the world.  How do you participate?
It’s simple.  First, hit up your local Goodwill.  Find something awesomely great.  Or awesomely awful.  Find anything.  Flash your best smile and take a selfie with the item.  Then post to your favorite social media site (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) with the hashtag #secondhandselfie and tag @GoodwillOmaha.
What’s in it for you?  Your post will do two things.  First, make all of your friends realize how cool you are.  Shopping at Goodwill is good for the environment, your wallet, and the community (all of that equals major cool points).  Second, your #secondhandselfie will get you entered in a drawing to win a $25 Goodwill gift card.  We’ll draw one winner each month from each entry.  The more times you enter – the more chances you have to win (max 10 entries per person, per month).
All Goodwill purchases have one thing in common, they all help people in your community better themselves through education and job training opportunities.  So, help yourself, help your neighbors.  Shop at Goodwill, take a #secondhandselfie and change lives with Goodwill!
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Here, I’m taking a #SecondhandSelfie in an awesome denim maxi dress. The Ralph Lauren dress was $.99 at Benson Park Plaza and would make for a great DIY project.

Have a Thrifty New Year!

PicMonkey Collage

 

It’s the last day of the year – New Year’s Eve 2014.  Go out with a bang (for little buck) with some help from Goodwill.  Found at our Benson Park Plaza store, this unique vintage dress has gold embroidered details and is super warm.  You’ll be a hit at any party with this fun frock.

You can’t ring in the new year without some accessories, of course.  I picked up some fun sparkle high (really high) heels, a gold-toned locket, and a few gold bangles to complete this end-of-the-year outfit.  For about $30, you can’t go wrong with this complete New Year’s look from Goodwill.

As a reminder, our stores will be closing at 5 pm today and remain closed for New Year’s Day. Happy shopping and Happy New Year from Goodwill Omaha!