Honoring Those Who Have Served

Photo credit: google.com

The U.S. Veterans Administration notes that 22 million veterans have reintegrated back into civilian life since World War I. That reintegration often proves difficult for veterans as they face numerous challenges, including finding meaningful employment to support themselves and their families. They lack the skills, education and credentials for jobs in the current marketplace. Many also have physical and emotional disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Still others face non-work-related challenges such as lack of health care, child care, housing and transportation.

At Goodwill Omaha, we strive to streamline re-entry and reduce the stressors of an already challenging time in the lives of returning military members. Many veterans who approach Goodwill for career services are surprised to find that they can gain much more than just job search assistance.

Goodwill Omaha employs veterans throughout our retail, employment and training, contracts and administrative divisions.

At our October Town Hall, we honored 18 of those veterans. Goodwill employees who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard were given plaques and gift cards as a small token of our appreciation for their dedicated service to our country. Veteran Tom Bessey represented the group, telling the audience what his service means to him. He then led the group in a moment of silence for our fallen heroes.

Thank you to all the veterans who have served our country.

See what’s happening at 72nd & Ames

I’d like you all to meet Paul. He’s a student in our Work Experience Program at the Blair store, and for the past month, he has been job shadowing in our Marketing department.

Paul is very interested in video. He’s made music videos (one of his videos was so impressive, the band Kansas gave him a shout-out), instructional programs and interviews, all using his handheld HD camera and some exceptionally creative camera work and detailed editing. He’d like to pursue a career in video production, so this week, we decided to make a short video showing off the programs and services here at our 72nd & Ames headquarters.

First, Paul and I sat down to work on a script. We broke it up into two parts — the sections he would be hosting on-camera, and the sections he would be voicing over footage of our programs. Once we were satisfied with that, we headed outside to shoot his standups. The plan was that I would shoot the scenes in which Paul was on camera, but he would shoot and direct everything else. Paul also oversaw the editing process, as we reviewed our footage, selected our best takes, and assembled our final edit. We finished this 90-second project from scratch in just under two hours!

Work Experience is Goodwill Omaha’s oldest program, having been active since the 1960s. In Work Experience, students from area high schools in special education programs have an opportunity to work at Goodwill stores in a supportive environment. At the stores, they gain a variety of practical work experience, including retail production, custodial and clerical tasks, better preparing to take their first steps transitioning from an educational setting to the professional working world.

The 12 Days of Back to School Shopping: Day 11

On the eleventh day of Back to School shopping,
Goodwill gave to me…

Eleven supported programs

Ten percent off with the Goodwill card
Nine flavors of lattes
Eight #2 pencils
The Seventh version of Windows
Six-packs of socks
Five shelves of books
Four desk legs
Three clothing sections
Two desk lamp settings
And one stop for all my Back to School shopping needs!

Did you know that when you shop at Goodwill you are actually supporting programs that help put people to work? Your donations and the dollars spent at Goodwill stores help fund 11 employment and training programs that benefit the Omaha metro area. These 11 programs are:

  • Customer Connect
  • READY (Real Employment Assistance for Developing You)
  • Adult Career Program
  • Dislocated Worker Program
  • Partnership for Youth Development
  • Ability One Contracts
  • Employability and Life Skills
  • Situational Assessments
  • YouthBuild
  • Work Experience
  • Resource Center
  • These programs and services offer a variety of resources to fit varying levels of need. From one-time resume assistance to semester-long degree programs, Goodwill’s vision is to eliminate unemployment among those who want to work. Our programs, funded partly from store revenue, help to accomplish this vision by providing our participants with the skills to find meaningful careers. So, when you are shopping for your back to school clothes and supplies at Goodwill, you may actually be helping someone go back to school themselves! That’s just another example of how the circle of life works here at Goodwill.

Volunteer tax preparers are needed — find out how you can help!

Each year, Family Housing Advisory Services and the Omaha Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition offer free tax preparation services one part of their ongoing efforts to reduce poverty. Goodwill served as a host site last year, and our site proved to be so helpful to people in the area that we’ll be doing it again this year!

But before any taxes will be prepared, the Omaha EITC needs to recruit volunteers who can help. That’s where you come in.

The EITC Coalition is hosting a recruitment celebration and bus tour (PDF) of Omaha tomorrow, August 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will also be volunteer orientation sessions (PDF) throughout the month. Training classes begin the week of September 9.

“Don’t worry if you don’t want to do taxes,” said Ginny Powell, Commercial Services Project Manager at Goodwill, EITC Coalition member and volunteer tax preparer. “There are other roles that are just as important to the smooth operation of a site.”

For more information, you can visit the EITC Coalition page at the FHAS site, go to the Omaha EITC Coalition’s Facebook page or call 402.250.9781.

Closing out the Summer Work Experience session

We told you about the Summer Work Experience session back in the July issue of the Clothes Line. But in case you missed it, it’s a new program that gives special education students who just completed their high school education an opportunity to gain exposure to work situations in a supportive environment while expanding their job-readiness skills.

Six young people with disabilities have worked at Goodwill’s Benson Park Plaza headquarters this summer, performing a number of duties on both the administrative side of Goodwill and the retail production side. They also work with Trainer Jen Hoye on job-readiness skills like interview practice, preparing job applications and exploring career opportunities.

The students wanted to close out their time this summer with a fun video, so below you can see the Summer Work Experience crew in their very own Harlem Shake performance. Take it away, team! And congratulations on your successful summer — it has been great having you around!