Goodwill is proud to administer the YouthBuild Omaha program in partnership with AmeriCorps. YouthBuild supports young adults as they conduct community service while pursuing their GED. Participants engage in construction skills training and have the opportunity to receive various professional certifications as they complete their community service requirements.
Members of this year’s YouthBuild class have being busy working to fulfill their AmeriCorps-required community service hours. Since joining the class this fall, the last few months have presented some opportunities outside the usual construction training volunteer opportunities.
In October several participants helped with Goodwill’s first Halloween Trunk-or-Treat community event. Those who participated did an excellent job of making the guests feel welcome while handing out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters.
In November a group of YouthBuild participants assisted Heartland Hope Mission assembling and distributing Thanksgiving gift baskets. They were directed to gather donated food items from around the facility and prepare the basket. The volunteers were friendly and enjoyed interacting with the clients as they helped them to their vehicles.
Family Housing Advisory hosted various volunteer opportunities throughout December. YouthBuild decorated their Lake Point Center for the annual Christmas in the Village event. Keep Omaha Beautiful provided supplies for participants to clean up the streets before and after the event. They also stuffed envelopes for community members to learn about potential upcoming changes to the tax code.
It has become tradition for YouthBuild to model ugly holiday sweaters on The Morning Blend talk show. Several participants took the opportunity to strut their stuff for the camera. They enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at the news studio and interacting with the hosts on air.
Through these special projects, daily GED classes and construction skills training, participants show professionalism and a dedication to developing themselves while helping their community. The YouthBuild team looks forward to what is to come in 2018!
Last week Goodwill celebrated employees that have served in the Armed Forces and their many contributions to our agency. From the retail stores to administrative staff, Goodwill is proud to employ many veterans from diverse backgrounds.
Meet Simon and Ken. They work at one of Goodwill’s AbilityOne federal contract locations. Through AbilityOne, Goodwill provides employment for individuals with disabilities in a supportive work environment at several federal properties across Nebraska.
Simon and Ken explain their journey from serving in the Armed Forces to employment at Goodwill. They share the skills they gained while serving and how they continue to utilize them today.
Simon joined the Army at 19 years old. He decided to join after graduating high school and feeling unfulfilled while working at fast food restaurants. He knew that there was more for him to learn and enlisting in the Army was a great way to achieve personal growth. Simon shared his initial impressions after enlisting, “Basic training was tough. I wasn’t sure I could make it through, but once I did I found so many other opportunities were available to me.” Simon explained that the Army taught him about responsibility, reliability, dependability – some of the most important aspects of becoming an adult.
After leaving the Army and several years of unemployment, Simon found an opportunity at Goodwill. He said, “Goodwill just felt right.” He loves coming to work every day because of the people – his coworkers, supervisors and the people they serve. Simon expressed his gratitude for all the opportunities he has been afforded since coming to work at Goodwill.
Ken served in the Army Reserves for 16 years. Ken enlisted because he wanted to better himself and get more education. Ken explained the various jobs that he learned while in the Army Reserves and how he overcame challenges throughout his career. While being deployed in Iraq, Ken was exposed to many difficult situations in an unfamiliar place, but it opened his eyes to what he was able to accomplish.
When asked about how he decided to work at Goodwill, Ken happily exclaimed, “Goodwill chose me!” Ken also looks forward to coming to work because of the people he gets to work with. He appreciates the opportunities to continue his personal growth at Goodwill.
Goodwill is proud to provide employment opportunities for people like Simon and Ken. Their strong work ethic and dedication are a tremendous asset to our team. Goodwill is honored to serve those that have served our country.
We are extremely happy to be hosting the Pre-Employment Transition Youth Conference today! Nebraska VR – Vocational Rehabilitation provides this contract as an opportunity for ESU #2, #3 and #19 to organize and facilitate a student conference, with an emphasis on transition to employment. Esu2Neb ESU 3 ESU 19 Elearning and Distance Education
- Think Local to build strong local partnerships with community leaders and small business organizations to promote inclusive hiring strategies.
- Build Trust as originators of inclusive hiring strategies, a resource for information about or conduits to skilled candidates with disabilities; and a support/resource for community employers.
- Increase Visibility through development and execution of clear and positive educational campaigns that promote the value, benefits and incentives for including people with disabilities in hiring strategies. The message should understand the needs and challenges of business. To help individuals with disabilities add value to the bottom line of engaged community employers.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
According to Department of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is twice that of the general population, and they are also nearly three times more likely to live in poverty than those without disabilities. These are issues Goodwill is working hard to eliminate everyday through our programs and services. In 2016, Goodwill employed 151 individuals who identified as having a disability and trained 249 high school students who received special education services.
If you are looking for ideas on promoting a disability-friendly workplace, here are seven ways to carry out the spirit of National Disability Employment Awareness Month all year long.
# 1: Host a Disability Mentoring Day
# 2: Sponsor a “Lunch and Learn” Series About Disability Issues
# 3: Provide Volunteer Opportunities to Your Employees
# 4: Display Posters Promoting Disability Inclusion
# 5: Offer American Sign Language Training Classes to Your Employees
# 6: Host a Disability 101 Event for Employees
# 7: Incorporate Disability Into Your Onboarding Processes
To see the full list of ideas, visit https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/YearRound.htm
Don’t forget to check out our webpage with more tips and activities.
Ahassan’s journey to Goodwill began nine months ago on the other side of the world. He arrived in Omaha in December 2016 with his family after fleeing persecution in his native country. His family was excited to reach Omaha but Ahassan knew that finding employment was an important first step while adjusting to their new home.
When Ahassan arrived in Omaha, he was assigned to an employment agency. Ahassan brings years of experience as a communications expert, is fluent in multiple languages and has several degrees and certifications. He needed an advocate to refer him to employers, provide a positive reference and help him navigate the Omaha labor market. Weeks and months passed and Ahassan was only offered positions outside his field and underutilizing his proven skills. He began to feel disheartened and unsure what the future would hold if he was not able to find a job.
The employment agency referred Ahassan to Goodwill’s Employment Ready Program to complete community service and gain exposure to the American working environment. The Employment Ready Program provides job readiness skills to anyone seeking employment assistance. Goodwill Employment Ready Specialist, Sherri Kallon explains, “When Ahassan first came to us. It was clear that he was struggling and had been let down many times. But it was also obvious that he is very intelligent and just needed someone to advocate for him.”
Sherri knew Ahassan was the perfect fit to intern in Goodwill’s computer lab. Immediately, he jumped at the opportunity to help other job seekers improve their computer skills while also researching education and job opportunities.
To enhance Ahassan’s employment search, Sherri engaged her colleague Katy Young from Goodwill’s Business Solutions Program. Business Solutions works directly with area companies to help fill their open positions. Sherri and Katy began sending Ahassan multiple job opportunities in his field. While Ahassan completed applications, Sherri and Katy worked their magic behind-the-scenes. Once Ahassan submitted his resume, Katy was quick to follow up with the company’s hiring manager to provide a positive reference. Their extra attention made the difference for Ahassan. After just two weeks at Goodwill, Ahassan interviewed and was offered the perfect position in his field.
Ahassan has been astounded by the personalized attention he received at Goodwill, saying, “Sherri and Katy are wonderful assets to Goodwill. They helped me find the perfect job and I am very grateful. Goodwill is doing amazing things in the community every day!” Join Goodwill as we wish Ahassan good luck in his new position. We know that he too will be doing amazing things in our community!