YouthBuild Omaha Members Celebrate In Graduation Ceremony
(Omaha, NE) Tomorrow 23 young adults dressed in cap and gown will eagerly wait behind closed doors in anticipation of walking down the aisle in their very own YouthBuild Omaha graduation ceremony. As Pomp and Circumstance plays overhead, YouthBuild Omaha members will begin the procession to the next steps of their lives, while being recognized for months of hard work, dedication and personal development.
We invite members of our community to join us in this special ceremony.
On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 3:00 p.m., the YouthBuild Omaha Class of 2018 will be recognized for their efforts over the last ten months. The ceremony will commence at Goodwill Headquarters at 4805 North 72nd Street in Omaha. YouthBuild Omaha is a national educational, leadership development and occupational skills-training program for disadvantaged young adults and is a proud partner of the American Job Center Network.
YouthBuild taps the talent and energy of young people in Omaha to rebuild their neighborhoods and improve their lives. YouthBuild is a program for individuals who have struggled with traditional school and faced multiple barriers who are looking to make a change in their lives. YouthBuild provides them the needed support to take their next positive step in life. During their time in YouthBuild Omaha, these young adults have learned to overcome those obstacles, and they have developed a new set of tools for a successful future.
Over the course of ten months, YouthBuild Omaha members learned a number of new skills in the construction trade. Members are provided the opportunity to earn multiple certifications including High School Diploma, Home Builders Institute certification, First Aid/CPR and Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification (OSHA).
Please join us for this joyous occasion. The event will include a brief program overview, member awards, a brief presentation from Iowa Western Athlete Ja’Chai Baker and YouthBuild Omaha alumni members, and last but not least, the turning of tassels for the graduating members.
Available for interviews/quotes: YouthBuild Omaha graduates, alumni and staff,
Goodwill President & CEO Dr. Michael McGinnis.
Available for photos: All YouthBuild Omaha graduates and alumni have a photo release on file.
Young Adults Gain Valuable Job Training at Goodwill
(Omaha, NE) On Tuesday, July 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., approximately 20-30 young adults in the STEP-UP Omaha! program will be visiting Goodwill, at 704 Gold Coast Drive in Papillion, for an educational morning coupled with volunteer service.
STEP-UP Omaha! provides jobs and paid internship opportunities young adults during the summer. Program participants gain valuable job training, work experience, vocational training, academic recovery and remediation, life skills training and community service opportunities. STEP-UP Omaha! is an initiative by the Empowerment Network and the City of Omaha in collaboration with community partners, including the Urban League of Nebraska.
During their time at Goodwill, participants will begin with an overview and introduction presented by Goodwill’s Employment Ready Manager, Megan Sharpe. Employment Ready, a program funded by Goodwill retail revenue, provides free one-on-one job readiness services to anyone who is unemployed or under-employed in the Omaha Metro and surrounding areas. Employment Ready can help any individual in need of employment assistance and provide referrals to additional community resources.
Megan will share information and best practices on first impressions when looking for work followed by a short question and answer session. Students will then break into smaller groups, one touring the sales floor and front area and the second group to tour the back room and processing area of Goodwill. Groups will then switch, allowing all young adults to get a full tour of Goodwill’s retail operations.
After the tours, the participants will have a group discussion on what jobs they found most interesting, as well as a chance to ask specific questions related to the jobs and processes they learned about. To conclude the experience, the young adults will participate in a volunteer opportunity where they will spend some time getting hands on experience in different roles within the Goodwill retail store.
The goal of this partnership is to provide students with an opportunity to witness how a Goodwill store operates as well as to learn what it takes to apply, interview and work successfully in a retail setting.
Megan Sharpe, Goodwill Employment Ready Manager and Vanetta Early, STEP-Up Omaha! Job Coach will be available for interviews. Students will also be available for video/photo opportunities with signed releases.
Whizzing by with clothing in hand and a smile on her face, Kim Streit works hard to keep a clean sales floor full of fresh product at the 180th and Q Goodwill store. Kim is an ever positive 29 year old who was born with a cognitive learning disability. Having been born and raised in Gretna, Nebraska—Kim is blessed with a loving and supportive family who strives to go the extra mile to make sure she is provided opportunities to succeed in life.
Kindness is one of Kim’s strong suits, you will likely never catch her in bad mood, or without a smile on her face. Unfortunately, her kindness was also been taken advantage of in the past, which added a level of difficulty in building her social skills as she grew older.
“Socializing has never been one of Kim’s strong suits, but working at Goodwill has helped her come out of her shell,” says Denise, Kim’s mother.
Throughout her retail training in the Work Experience Program and her time working at Goodwill, Kim has made tremendous strides in her social interaction skills and has become much more personable.
Goodwill’s partnership with Kim came to fruition when she was enrolled in the Work Experience Program in August of 2006. For many, the Work Experience Program is the first step toward successful job placement through supportive training in our retail stores. During Kim’s time in the program, she learned vital skills in a supportive classroom setting and gained exposure to a real work environment in Goodwill’s retail stores.
Upon graduating from the Work Experience Program in March of 2009, Kim went on to part time work at Lucky-D’s Tack Shop in Gretna. To help with a smooth transition from student to employee, Kim was partnered with a job coach from Career Solutions through the Ollie Webb Center Inc. The job coach helped Kim become acclimated to her new surroundings and adapt to her new set of responsibilities.
Kim’s time at Lucky-D’s came to an end after the summer of 2009. Soon after Kim applied for a position at the 180th & Q Goodwill store. She was hired as a part time employee after interviewing with Janelle Ellis, who was the Store Manager at the time of Kim’s hire.
“While interviewing Kim, she smiled the entire time and I knew she could add so much value to our team with her can-do attitude and bright personality. She was going to fit in well with our team dynamics and make us even stronger. I just had to hire her! She was, and still is, a ray of sunshine. Kim started at Goodwill with her job coach from Career Solutions, my plan for her was to start off small and grow. She first learned how to put away tank tops, then once she was a pro at that, she moved on to putting away tank tops and short sleeve shirts. We worked in each clothing category for a day or two, then added another category. In about two months, she knew how to put all clothing away by size, color and category. Once she mastered that, we began on fitting room recovery. She would check the fitting rooms between putting away each clothing rack. She caught on quickly in each area. Her job coach was instrumental in her success as well as the rest of the Goodwill team. One doesn’t succeed without help from others, it takes a family to succeed. At first her job coach was coming in daily, then a couple times a week, then once a week. After about two months he approached me and stated that Kim told him he doesn’t need to come anymore. At that point we both knew that Kim had the confidence in her work and had adapted very well to the team. She was ready to do it all on her own,” said Janelle Ellis, who is now Assistant Director of Retail Sales at Goodwill. Kim has been a model employee at the 180th and Q store for eight years and will be celebrating her ninth anniversary with Goodwill on October 5, 2018. According to her current manager, Osama Rashan, “Kim arrives on time every day, works hard, and never calls in. Her current duties and responsibilities include greeting all customers, distributing processed clothing and household wares items and assisting customers with dressing rooms. Other duties that Kim helps with are cleaning the store and maintaining sales floor standards.”
“She is always willing to help where needed and has an amazing memory when it comes to scheduling. She even helps remind others of scheduling changes that occur.” says Osama.
“Structure is something Kim relies on in her life, she sometimes struggles with being flexible when unforeseen conflicts arise in her daily schedule.” says Denise, Kim’s mother.
As part of the mission of changing lives through education, training and work, Goodwill is able to offer Kim the structure to strive in her daily work life and is able to help her embrace flexibility by the means of retail’s ever-changing environment. Kim is also able to focus on her strong suits of memorization and consistency when working in the store. Kim’s strengths support the ongoing success of the 180th & Q store.
Kim is currently focused on living well, eating healthy and getting involved in social atmospheres aside from work.
“I like to hangout with friends and play games, my favorite board game is Sorry. I also love to go bowling with friends and family,” said Kim.
According to Kim’s parents, Goodwill has been able to help Kim in many ways. These ways include assisting Kim in building her self worth and confidence, while providing a supportive setting for social interaction. From a shy Work Experience student in 2006, to an outgoing employee today, Goodwill is proud to provide employment services to amazing people just like Kim. This is Kim’s story, just one of the many Stories Behind the Stores. Kim is an amazing young woman who has taken, and continues to take, steps to better herself—growing both personally and professionally.
Employment Ready Helps Students Find Business Casual Attire
During the last week of March, Megan Sharpe, Goodwill Omaha’s Employment Ready Manager, received a phone call from Rebecca Dunn who teaches at Ralston High School. Dunn is currently teaching a Future Teacher Internship program. The class focuses on preparing students for future interviews and internships. Goodwill Omaha’s Employment Ready program was asked to partner with the Ralston High School class to provide assistance in how to choose appropriate attire for interviews and internships.
Sharpe met with the class on April 16 to share how Employment Ready provides free one-on-one job readiness services to those unemployed or underemployed in the Omaha Metro. Sharpe also spoke about proper business casual attire and how to find this clothing at our Goodwill locations. This partnership was an opportunity to educate the youth in the Ralston and Papillion community—by sharing Goodwill Omaha’s mission programs and how our retail stores support those programs.
The next day Sharpe met the Future Teacher Internship class at our Papillion retail store (84th and Giles).
Gathered in the front of the store, Sharpe took a moment to show some examples of proper business casual clothing. Among her examples was acceptable attire for a professional interview.
Megan also took time to remind students of the importance in making a great first impression during an interview. The students were encouraged to shop on their own. Sharpe and Dunn offered guidance and support—ensuring students were choosing appropriate business casual options.
Students were able to find garments by category, size, and color in our Papillion retail store. This made it easy for them to build outfits that paired well with their personalities.
Finally, all 17 of the Future Teacher Internship students walked away with business casual outfits for their upcoming interviews.
Each student was given a $20 gift card, which was provided by both Ralston High and Goodwill Omaha. This gave students the ability to find a full outfit. Also showing them how beneficial shopping at Goodwill is while on a tight budget. The students enjoyed the hunt for unique and trendy items they may not have normally found at other retailers. While using the provided gift cards, students were educated on how donating and shopping at Goodwill Omaha supports our mission programs such as Employment Ready.
Find Your Creative Style With Goodwill Omaha’s Look Book
Do you ever find yourself seeking a creative nudge for your wardrobe? First of all, it can be difficult to find your inner creative self—especially in today’s saturated clothing industry. It can also be tiresome and costly to keep up with the status quo. Personally styling your look is a common way for you to express yourself. However, most of us need guidelines, tips, or advice when creating looks and expanding our wardrobes. In the blog post 9 Steps to Defining Your Personal Style,Kat Collings nails down steps for developing your personal style.
Look to be Inspired.
All you need is a little imagination and maybe some images to inspire you. We have a fun new way to share creative looks that you can achieve by shopping at your local Goodwill. Click here to follow our Look Book for fun and creative new ways to expand your wardrobe and shop for upcoming seasons. The possibilities are endless when you shop at Goodwill. Did you know that each time you shop at our retail stores, the revenue generated is used to support our employment and training programs for individuals with disabilities and other disadvantages?
As we move into April, Prom season is in full swing. Maybe you have had a tough time finding the right dress at the right price. If so, we have some amazing dresses for you to choose from at our retail locations. We visited our Benson Park location and found designer prom dresses from Rachel Allen, Blush Prom, Sherri Hill, Blondie Nites by Stacey Sklar, and more. We also found some pumps and heels that will knock your socks off, pun intended. Regardless of the look you are going for, we’ve got some gorgeous designer dresses that will remedy your last minute prom night wardrobe crisis.
Click here to learn more about the programs you are supporting while perfecting your last minute prom needs.
Goodwill Omaha is proud to participate in the first Washington County Gives! a 24-hour charitable challenge organized by the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce and Blair Area Community Foundation. The online giving event will take place on November 28 starting at midnight.
All funds raised by Goodwill support our Work Experience program in Blair. Goodwill’s Work Experience program provides students in special education services an opportunity to gain exposure to a work situation in a supportive environment. By participating in Work Experience, students can take the first step in making the transition from a school setting to the world of work.
The Work Experience program at Goodwill’s retail store in Blair allows students with disabilities the opportunity to experience aspects of employment. From following a supervisor’s instructions to staying on task, students are gaining valuable skills to assist in the transition from the classroom to employment.
Earlier this month, the Blair Work Experience staff hosted an Open House to invite student’s families, teachers and community members to see what the students have been learning this semester. Blair Work Experience Trainer, Jenny organized an engaging night for both students and guests that included student-led store tours, face painting and craft tables. Students demonstrated the skills they’ve learned through the Work Experience program and guests enjoyed seeing the students in action.
Your support will allow Goodwill to continue to provide these opportunities for students in Washington County. Help us continue to change lives and strengthen our community by giving to Goodwill’s Work Experience program in Blair during Washington County Gives!
Today Goodwill Industries in partnership with the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors hosted a special ribbon cutting and mayoral proclamation to celebrate the month of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
The event was held at the Omni Center in Council Bluffs and brought together more than 100 community members to celebrate NDEAM. High school students from Goodwill’s Work Experience program served refreshments as guests gathered for the presentation.
The program began with introductions from the Council Bluff’s Ambassadors through the Chamber of Commerce. Dozens of Ambassadors representing a wide variety of businesses and organizations stood in support of the proclamation.
Council Bluffs Mayor, Matt Walsh thanked the crowd for their support of NDEAM. Mayor Walsh emphasized the importance of work in defining oneself. Citizens with disabilities also need the opportunity to work and contribute their skills to the community.
Mayor Walsh presented the official proclamation affirming Council Bluff’s commitment to building an inclusive community for all citizens. The city recognizes the month of October as an opportunity to raise awareness on disability issues throughout the community.
Next Dan Koenig, representing the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, explained the Chamber’s responsibility to educate businesses about the importance of inclusive hiring practices. He highlighted the impact of programs like Work Experience at Goodwill, which provides high school students with disabilities the opportunity to develop employment skills in a supportive environment.
Brad Krause, owner of Grease Monkey in Council Bluffs spoke about his experience working with representatives from Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation to employ individuals with disabilities. He explained the positive impact that disabled employees have had on his business.
Goodwill Work Experience participant, Noah Wegener spoke about the importance of work in his life. This is Noah’s third year in the Work Experience Program and he’s learned many tips to being successful on the job; including hard work, being responsible and being nice to your boss. Noah is proud to be able to work and contribute to his household. He looks forward to the future and gaining more independence as he works toward his goals.
Goodwill is proud to bring together many community members committed to bringing awareness to issues for employees with disabilities. Visit our interactive calendar HERE for more information and events to celebrate NDEAM. Check out our Facebook to view a video from this morning’s event (click the Videos tab on our Facebook page).