Congressman Don Bacon Returns to Offutt to Visit Goodwill Program Offices

Bacon voiced support for Goodwill’s AbilityOne program and committed to becoming an AbilityOne Congressional Champion.

OMAHA, Neb., Aug. 9, 2019 — AbilityOne, an employment program offered by the Omaha-based Goodwill Industries, Inc., provides training and part-time job opportunities at federal properties for individuals with disabilities, giving them the chance to experience positive, supportive work environments. On July 29, AbilityOne program leaders and employees met with Congressman Don Bacon when he visited Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska. During an informal town hall, Bacon even had the opportunity to learn how AbilityOne has improved the lives of program participants.

In talking with Bacon, Goodwill’s AbilityOne employees expressed appreciation for the program and spoke of how valuable it has been for them. Because of the program, they told Bacon, they have found tremendous fulfilment in their work.

AbilityOne provides employment prospects at federal buildings for people with disabilities. Local opportunities include custodial, postal services and ground maintenance at Offutt Air Force Base, the Zorinsky Federal Building in Omaha, the Denney Federal Building in Lincoln, and the VA hospitals in Omaha and Grand Island. Bacon said that he’s an advocate for AbilityOne because the program helps people who want to work find jobs, which he fully supports.

“We’re very lucky to have Congressman Bacon’s attention and support for the AbilityOne program,” said Jennifer Montag, senior project manager for Goodwill Omaha’s AbilityOne program. “Congressman Bacon is working toward becoming an AbilityOne Congressional Champion, and his commitment to achieving that goal is inspiring to everyone involved with the program.”

Bacon’s interest in AbilityOne began when he was stationed at Offutt as the 55th wing commander. During that time, he said, he saw the quality of work and the program’s positive outcomes firsthand. Since then, AbilityOne has been a program he is passionate about.

Nate Gunter, project manager for Goodwill Omaha’s AbilityOne program, added, “It’s wonderful to work with our AbilityOne participants, and watching them succeed in their new job roles is an incredible experience. I’m proud of the work we do, and we appreciate Congressman Bacon’s contributions.”

About Goodwill Industries, Inc.

Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, has been a leader in helping people fulfill their dreams through work since 1933. Our mission is to train and employ people with disabilities and others who may be at a competitive disadvantage in the job market. We do this by selling value-priced merchandise at 17 convenient locations in Omaha, Bellevue, Papillion, Fremont, Blair, Gretna and Council Bluffs.

Although many people know Goodwill as a place to donate used clothing and household items, they may not realize that their donations sold in our retail stores fund programs that give thousands of formerly unemployed individuals the opportunity to earn a living and the chance to succeed in life. Goodwill provides opportunities for individuals with barriers to self-sufficiency through a variety of job opportunities and employment programs, including AbilityOne, YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Employment Solutions and Work Experience.

Goodwill is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 agency governed by a local board of trustees. We are a member agency of Goodwill Industries International of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goodwill is also affiliated with the federal Ability One program, which provides jobs for people with severe disabilities at federal facilities. Goodwill is accredited by CARF, the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission. Learn more at GoodwillOmaha.org.

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For Information Contact:
Amy Goldyn, Marketing Manager
Goodwill Industries, Inc. Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa
402-231-1919
[email protected]

United Way of the Midlands Awards $36,000 Grant to Goodwill Industries, Inc., to Fund YouthBuild Omaha

For Immediate Release

July 16, 2019

 

(Omaha, NE) Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa is pleased to announce it was awarded a $36,000 grant from United Way of the Midlands. Thanks to the generosity of the United Way donors, Goodwill’s YouthBuild Omaha Program is able to provide another year of intensive vocational and life skills training to individuals in our community.

YouthBuild Omaha is a program for young adults, ages 16 to 24, who have struggled with school. Many of these young people do not have a high school diploma and are looking to make a positive change in their lives. YouthBuild Omaha’s mission is to equip young people with the tools to make healthy decisions. The program combines classroom learning and hands-on construction experience. YouthBuild Omaha members spend half their day in the classroom preparing to take their GED tests, and the other half working with local non-profits that build and renovate homes, learning construction and other high demand occupations, and giving back to their community.

By integrating academic, vocational and leadership activities, YouthBuild Omaha offers a unique project-based learning model for members. The learning experience is individualized, intensive and designed to replicate the professional work environment. Members identify their skills, barriers and career interests and follow individual development plans. They work towards continuous improvement in five key behavioral areas – attendance, communication, positive workplace behavior, conduct, and follow-through.

This is the second of a two-year commitment United Way of the Midlands has made to maintaining and enhancing YouthBuild Omaha. This support has allowed Goodwill to increase services provided to young adults enrolled in the program, and introduce innovative new learning processes. In 2019, United Way funding allowed Goodwill to purchase 12 state of the art monitors and 2 printers (one being a 3D printer) to expand our YouthBuild Construction Plus model to include IT Certification. Upon successful completion, students will earn MakerBot 3D Printing Certification and Autodesk Certification, preparing the next generation of CADD industry professionals.

“United Way’s grant and continued support for the Goodwill YouthBuild Omaha programs is greatly appreciated. It will bring positive change to the lives of many youth enrolled in the program,” said Dr. Michael McGinnis, CEO and President of Goodwill Omaha.

About United Way of the Midlands:

Thanks to donors, volunteers and community partners, United Way of the Midlands is not only focused on addressing our community’s human needs today; it is focused on what can be and what should be. It is building on today’s strong partnerships to create even more comprehensive human service efforts tomorrow, so our community can solve some of the root causes of poverty. United Way of the Midlands is community-based, community-focused. Thanks to those who share their strength, United Way of the Midlands is COMMUNITY STRONG. Please visit UnitedWayMidlands.org for more information

About Goodwill Omaha:

Goodwill Industries, Inc. has been leaders in helping people fulfill their dreams through work since 1933. Our mission is to change lives and strengthen communities through education, training, and work. Visit www.goodwillomaha.org for more information.

 

For Information Contact:

Tobi Mathouser – Director of Mission Advancement

Goodwill Industries, Inc. Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa

402-341-4609

[email protected]

Story Behind the Store – A Gender Reveal Party

 

It is not every day that Goodwill hosts a gender reveal party for an expectant mother. On March 7, 2019, that is exactly what happened at Goodwill’s WearHouse store on 72nd & F where long-term customer Arelys Sandoval revealed the gender of her next child to her family, friends and fellow shoppers.

Shantel Featherson, Goodwill’s WearHouse Manager, was honored to be part of the special occasion. “We were so excited to be part of this special moment for one of our long-time customers. We were able to help celebrate with great people, good food and games,” said Shantel. Shantel took time out of her busy day to plan the party and purchase decorations to make this day extra special for Arelys.

Shantel Featherson and Arelys Sandoval embracing during the party

Arelys’ brother, Rodrigo, introduced her to the WearHouse store over eight years ago and she has been a regular shopper ever since. The WearHouse store is a different kind of shopping experience. Items not sold at the traditional retail stores are sent to the WearHouse and most items are sold by the pound.

Arelys is a stay at home mom and sees her daily trips to Goodwill as a way to make new friends who enjoy shopping at the WearHouse as she does. Arelys says the friendly and helpful employees at Goodwill make her daily shopping there a memorable experience. “I really appreciate the environment at Goodwill, everyone is so nice!” said Arelys.

The Goodwill staff, shoppers and family members

Sandoval’s favorite things to shop for are clothes and toys for her son Ivan. A budding entrepreneur, she enjoys shopping for books that she resells on eBay and Amazon. “I always find great stuff!” said Arelys.

When asked what advice she would give people shopping at the WearHouse, she stressed the need for patience. You must dig for hidden treasures in the bins.  Arelys said, “I prefer Goodwill because of the prices. You can buy by the pound and it’s cheaper so you can get more.”

Arelys getting ready to find out the gender of her next baby

Arelys said her gender reveal party is by far the fondest memory she has of all her trips to Goodwill. The WearHouse staff looks forward to her bright, cheery and pleasant demeanor every day!
Goodwill is grateful for Arelys sharing her special day with us.

We appreciate her loyalty to Goodwill and cannot wait to meet the newest addition to her family.
Goodwill supports community needs and provides a unique shopping experience for customers like Arelys who has become a member of Goodwill’s extended family!

And the gender was… A BOY!!!

 

Find Your Future Career Fair – Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Don’t forget to join us for this awesome event on May 7! Recruiters from all participating businesses will be on site for individuals to share their skills/experience with and to discuss potential employment opportunities! We will also have our computer lab open to job seekers so that they can apply on-site and discuss positions with said recruiters. We will have employers from all sectors of employment present!

Employers Attending:

  • AAA/Auto Club Group
  • Akkase Health Care
  • Bakers
  • Boys Towen National Research Hospital
  • Caretech
  • CHI Health
  • Cintas
  • Boystown
  • First National Bank
  • Honeywell
  • Hy-Vee
  • Immanuel
  • Job Sourse USA
  • Lyman-Richey
  • Marriott-Downtown
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart
  • Oriental Trading Company
  • Sodexo
  • Staff Mid-America
  • Tyson Foods
  • UNMC
  • USPS

Find Your Future Sponsors:

 

Supporting Communities Affected By Floods – How You Can Help

Goodwill is committed to helping our communities recover from the damage and loss of belongings caused by the recent floods. The information below explains how Goodwill, with community help, will support our surrounding communities during this time of crisis.

Salvation Army Donation Sites:

All Goodwill locations will accept donated flood relief items in support of Salvation Army’s efforts. Please bring the items listed below to your local Goodwill. Donation receipts will be given upon request. All donations collected will be transported by Goodwill to the Salvation Army for distribution.

Items specifically requested at this time:

  • Bleach
  • Work gloves
  • Rakes
  • Mops
  • Shovels
  • Buckets
  • Tarps
  • Household cleaning items

Round It Up Campaign:

Goodwill invites all customers to round up purchases to the nearest dollar, which Goodwill will use to provide needed support for communities in eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa affected by the recent flooding. All Round-It-Up donations will go directly to the Red Cross to support communities as they recover and rebuild.

Goodwill Vouchers for Affected Individuals & Families:

Beginning Friday March 15, Goodwill began issuing store vouchers to the local agencies listed below to help those affected by the flooding. Vouchers can be used to purchase needed items at any Goodwill retail location. Contact the agencies listed below to learn more about the Goodwill store voucher program. As of March 22, Goodwill has issued $24,900 in store vouchers to over 1,200 individuals working with the following agencies:

Other agencies providing relief support:

Volunteering In Our Community:

To date, Goodwill employees have collectively volunteered more than 223 hours to flood relief efforts.

Meet Victoria – YouthBuild AmeriCorps

Victoria Irby

Meet Victoria! She is an aspiring artist with a very creative personality. She is also a member of Goodwill’s YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program. YouthBuild is a national educational, leadership, development and occupational skill-training program for young adults. It offers paid construction training, paid education and learning, leadership training, and ongoing support after graduation to help build leaders in the community through service projects.

YouthBuild serves young adults, ages 16 to 24, who are underemployed or do not have a high school diploma, are interested in learning construction and helping to build/repair homes for low-income families, and are willing to commit to nine months of training and development. Victoria has been in the program for approximately six months and has come a long way. She is bettering herself by showing up, making herself available and being willing to learn every day as part of the program.

Before Goodwill, Victoria was staying at home most days dreading getting out of bed. It was hard for her to find the motivation she needed to thrive. She had no structure in place to see the value in her efforts to become the person she wanted to be. Victoria lacked the support to overcome difficult times. Without hope, fear of consequences is absent and it is something that Victoria frequently struggled with.

She learned about Goodwill’s services after she decided to go back to school. After about a year at Metropolitan Community College, she felt it was too complicated for her and was ready for something different. While spending time at the Omaha Public Schools Teacher Administration Center (TAC) building, she read about Goodwill’s YouthBuild AmeriCorps program.
Victoria said lack of motivation was one of the biggest obstacles to finding a job, becoming independent, and becoming the person she envisioned. Before joining YouthBuild AmeriCorps, she was distant from everyone and everything. Victoria stated, “I felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I would probably be dead or doing a lot of unhealthy stuff if it wasn’t for some of the training and support that Goodwill has provided.”

According to Victoria, the training that YouthBuild provides helped her learn the value of patience and not to doubt herself. Since joining the program her social skills have improved, she believes in herself and has the support in place to help fulfill her dreams. She is recognizing the changes in her behavior and can more easily identify her feelings and talk more openly with a level of trust and understanding that did not exist before. It’s also easier for her to identify things she enjoys doing. “I think more before speaking and I care about the feelings and opinions of others,” said Victoria. She is gaining valuable insight and knowledge to help better understand the nuances and intricacies of interpersonal communication and life.

 

Chinese Checkers game board Victoria made

Victoria’s passion for art and creativity will be incredible assets as she continues her journey to find her place in the world. She loves to listen to old school music, like Isaac Hayes and the Isley Brothers. Her taste in music is not surprising when you consider her gentle, calm and relaxed demeanor. Outside of YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Victoria enjoys dancing and doing math (not at the same time, of course), watching her favorite movie, Norbit, and sipping on a nice glass of her favorite beverage, apple juice. Victoria’s favorite holiday is Halloween and she dressed up as Michael Myers last year.

We are very proud of and happy for Victoria and the strides she has made to better herself both personally and professionally. She has embraced this opportunity and we are excited to see more of the beautiful things she will create! The YouthBuild AmeriCorps program has helped her come into her own and we are privileged to help share in her journey as she continues to learn about all the great things she is capable of.

Victoria’s multi-purpose décor creation

For more information regarding Goodwill’s services and programs, please visit https://www.goodwillomaha.org/employment-services/ or call us at (402) 341 – 4609.
If you or anyone you know could benefit from the YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program, please contact:
Norman Barnes – YouthBuild Manager
Goodwill Industries
4805 N. 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68134
Phone: (402) 522-7231
[email protected]

Janelle Ellis Promoted to Director of Retail Operations

Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa is pleased to announce that Janelle Ellis has been named Director of Retail Operations.

“Janelle is a proven leader who has the experience and the skills to take Goodwill’s retail program and mission integration to new level,” said Goodwill CEO Mike McGinnis.

Janelle began her career with Goodwill as an Assistant Store Manager in September 2006. Serving Goodwill in various roles throughout her tenure, she now leads as Director of Retail Operations. Janelle oversees 14 traditional retail stores, 3 specialty stores, warehouse operations, transportation and logistics, facilities maintenance and custodial contracts. Janelle is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Kearney.

For Information Contact:

Ann Woodford
Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Phone: 402-231-1919
[email protected]

Story Behind The Store – Meet Yahwietuor

Yahwietuor (yah-way-tour) Mok is a cashier at Goodwill’s Benson Park Plaza retail store and is a great testament to our mission and values. He is a man of faith and has a pleasant disposition that belies his relationship with his home country’s difficult and complex past. He is known to most as Yahwie, which also shares a similar sounding meaning to Hebrew, Greek, and Latin words with reference to God. He has a gentle, soft-spoken voice that is comforting and assuring.

His home country is Sudan, a country ravaged by war and corruption. Many of the citizens are forced to leave the country for various reasons related to the ongoing war and adverse effects of the government’s struggle for power and resources. In the 1980’s, Yahwie was in the army and fought in Sudan. While fighting for the people and country he loves, he was witness to the worst in people during the war. Unfortunately, he lost a great deal during this trying period in his life — his wife and two daughters did not survive due to the lack of proper medical treatment nearby to treat them.

He ultimately moved to the United States for a new beginning and opportunities that weren’t accessible to him back home. After spending 8 years in Orlando and unable to find work, he decided to move to Omaha. He was determined to do more and not just live off his Social Security income. Before that, he had spent some time volunteering and working at a convenience store before the owner of the store sold his shop. He found a temporary job dealing with recycling electronics but still wanted more for his life.

In May of last year, he started training at Goodwill through Employment Solutions Retail Sector Training program, which he found through Nebraska Vocational Rehab. After completing the training program, Yahwie was hired permanently in June 2018. He described his experience of his job search as, “very painful” because of the discrimination, doubt, and uncertainty about his ability to work and being able to support himself and his family back home. For many, this is a burden of responsibility that can be crippling. Yahwie is strong, giving, passionate, hard-working and determined to not let his disability define him. Because of his disability, it is difficult for him to stand for periods of time so Goodwill provided proper accommodations for him. Goodwill’s goal is to focus on his ability, not disability.

The retail sector training course Yahwie completed is just one of Goodwill’s various sector training programs that consists of a comprehensive training, including classroom training hours as well as hours of hands-on job training. The program makes use of almost 100 years of expertise that complements skill-building and employment assistance. With the help of this program, newfound skills, and knowledge, Yahwie was able to successfully land a second job with First Data!

In his free time, Yahwie likes to spend time in the community, at Veteran’s Affairs, an agency he vehemently supports. He enjoys music (African and Tupac) and loves to eat spicy African foods, goat meat, and corn powder! Before losing his leg, he loved to play soccer and now likes watching the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry in the NBA as well as the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I don’t know what I would be doing or where I would be without the help of Goodwill,” said Yahwietuor. “Goodwill is always taking care of people, training them and helping them with education — so without Goodwill, I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity.” He appreciates the fact that Goodwill has helped to open a new door for him because he is now working two jobs. He noted, “I love the mission…God bless Goodwill.”

He works seven days a week now and works very hard to achieve his goals. The Goodwill team is very happy and proud of what Yahwie has accomplished, both personally and professionally. He has a cheerful and patient demeanor that helps him excel when dealing with customers and answering repeated questions about his leg. He handles himself very well and we are delighted to have Yahwietuor as a member of our team!

Find out more about how Goodwill programs can help you or someone you know. To learn more, please visit www.goodwillomaha.org/employment-services/ or call us at (402) 341-4609.

#STORIESBEHINDTHESTORES

Belvedere 3rd Graders Participate In CareerRock It! With Goodwill Omaha and Outlook Nebraska

Students had the opportunity to meet Doug’s guide dog, Finn.

On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, fifteen Belvedere Elementary third graders visited Goodwill’s headquarters as part of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s CareerRock It program. To start the day, students met Goodwill staff and learned about the mission programs Goodwill provides. The class then split into two groups to begin activities.

 

The first group met with Outlook Nebraska’s Adaptive Tech Facilitator Doug Wampler, Doug’s guide dog Phineas, and Community Outreach Specialist Megan Mackie. Doug and Megan provided an excellent learning opportunity for students and led conversation on topics such as:

  • Their personal vision capacity stories
  • Understanding vision loss
  • Why it is important for everyone to be able to work and what types of jobs blind people can do (and what jobs they can’t)
  • Guide dog etiquette and how guide dogs assist people who are blind, especially when it comes to working
  • Outlook Nebraska programs and services for people who are blind
  • And careers for sighted people who want to work with people who are blind

Doug and Megan provided demonstrations for students such as how a blind person uses a computer or smart phone, the technology that assists them, and the opportunity to experience vision simulator goggles.

Doug and Megan also explained adaptive technology that assists individuals with vision loss or impairments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second group received a behind-the-scenes tour of Goodwill’s headquarters building. Students learned about Goodwill’s community and training rooms, the administration departments, mission program areas and store operations. YouthBuild AmeriCorps members assisted with chaperoning the tours and highlighting their program area. At the end of the tour, students had the opportunity to select a book to take home with them.

Students visited the YouthBuild AmeriCorps program and learned about the woodshop.

 

 

One student spent some time going through the motions of tidying up a mock jewelry display in Goodwill’s Training Center.

The two groups switched activities allowing every student to get the full experience. Following the activities, students gathered in the Durham Community room where they enjoyed lunch and conversation.

Goodwill Omaha and Outlook Nebraska were honored to be part of the CareerRock It program. Thank you to the Greater Omaha Chamber, Ms. Dunn of Belvedere Elementary, and all the students who participated. We look forward to future opportunities to educate the young minds in our community!

For Information Contact:

Ann Woodford
Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Phone: 402-231-1919
[email protected]

Goodwill to Host OPS Transition Parent Teacher Conferences and Resource Fair

On February 7, 2019 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm, Goodwill Industries will host the 2019 Omaha Public Schools (OPS) Parent Teacher Conferences for transition students. Transition students are individuals with disabilities nearing the end of their high school careers.  Goodwill provides vocational training to OPS transition students through the Work Experience program.

During parent teacher conferences, Goodwill will also simultaneously host the first annual Disability Resource Fair. The fair provides students, parents and educators an opportunity to meet with more than 30 local agencies who provide support and services for individuals with disabilities such as day programs, residential, transportation, employment services, college opportunities and more. Participating agencies include Autism Action Partnership, Easter Seals NE, Gotta Be Me, Metropolitan Community College, Nebraska Transition College, PTI Nebraska, Special Olympics, and Vocational Rehabilitation, among others.

 For Information Contact:

Sam Comfort
Work Experience Coordinator
Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Phone: 402-951-2918
[email protected]

2-7-19-OPS-ResourceFair