AbilityOne Representatives Attend Grassroots Advocacy Conference

AbilityOne Representatives Attend Grassroots Advocacy Conference

From June 12 through June 15 Nate Gunter and Gary Lane, Goodwill Omaha employees, joined other nonprofits in the SourceAmerica network at the 20th Grassroots Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC. Gunter, Assistant Project Manager, along with Lane, a valued employee, both work at Goodwill’s AbilityOne contract at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska. Goodwill Omaha’s AbilityOne program was just one of 50 nonprofits that had representatives present at the conference.

With approximately 200 attendees the conference connected self-advocates with disabilities to their representatives and senators. Conferences like Grassroots Advocacy allow those self-advocates to highlight the importance of creating employment opportunities and choices for people with disabilities. This conference gave Gunter and Lane, Goodwill Omaha’s representatives, the ability to advocate for programs like AbilityOne, defend the WIOA (Work Innovation and Opportunity Act).

“This year we focused on encouraging members of congress to increase what the government elects to pay out from .7 %to 1.5 %,” said Gunter. (Lets have Nate or Tobi give one or two more sentences on what this means)

The conference started off with registration and dinner where SourceAmerica CEO, Steve Soroka, introduced keynote speaker David Egan, Special Olympics athlete and advocate for others with disabilities. Tuesday, June 15 consisted of a full day of training Give an example of what training it was. Wednesday and Thursday the nonprofit attendees participated in a walk and engaged in meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. A banquet was held Wednesday evening where Congressman Don Bacon and Senator Deb Fischer were in attendance.

Gunter also shared that because 2018 is an election year, there was more of a responsibility to defend and promote programs supporting the employment of people with disabilities.

When asked about Gunter’s experience with SourceAmerica, he stated, “Being able to see people from other AbilityOne programs was a big learning experience—people had the ability to share their stories and what they have been through and the help that the AbilityOne program has provided to them.”

We want to thank our community for continued support in programs such as AbilityOne. AbilityOne is just one of many programs that help us continue to fulfill our mission of changing lives and strengthening communities through education, training and work.


Josh Author Photo

Written By: Josh Meyer

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Press Release – United Way of the Midlands Awards $37,578 to Fund YouthBuild Omaha

 

For Immediate Release                                   

July 17, 2018

United Way of the Midlands Awards $37,578 to Goodwill Industries, Inc. Grant to Fund YouthBuild Omaha

(Omaha, NE) Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa is pleased to announce it was recently awarded a $37,578 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 skills 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 first 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 the young adults enrolled in the program, and introduce innovative new learning processes.

“United Way’s support for this program is greatly appreciated by Goodwill and the YouthBuild Omaha program, and many lives will change in a positive way, thanks to all who made a contribution,” 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:
Christine Aguilar – Director of Mission Training
Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska & Southwest Iowa
402-341-4609
[email protected]

 

 

 

 

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Sector Training Expands Mission Focus at Goodwill Omaha

Sector Training Expands Mission Focus at Goodwill Omaha

Over the spring months of 2018, Goodwill Omaha developed a sector training program based on multiple community needs. The Mission Advancement team identified a nationally recognized retail training. After research was done it was determined that the training would be a good fit for the new program. At Goodwill we have a unique benefit of having access to our retail stores. This access provides real, on-the-job training in a real-life setting.

With the initial curriculum was built, we determined that a defined classroom space to practice these skills while teaching them would be very beneficial—in turn we created a mock retail store located in our headquarters building.

“We had a great trainer, Jen Driscoll. She developed the curriculum, trained and tested participants by working one-one-one with them daily. Jen made sure the program participants were successful and supported at all times” says Christine Aguilar, Director of Mission Training.

Our Employment Ready program assisted with the job readiness curriculum and our Business Solutions program worked with the participants during their training to identify employment goals. Employment Ready and Business Solutions worked together to achieve permanent employment opportunities for the participants.

“After reviewing the first cohort, we are very excited with the successful results and we plan to provide this training on an ongoing basis. We are also exploring other potential referral sources to expand the number of participants served” says Aguilar.  

Results

The first training class started on May 7, 2018 and concluded June 1, 2018. All four program participants successfully obtained certification. Two of the participants have secured full time employment. The other two participants are actively interviewing with local employers. Goodwill’s Business Solutions team continues to assist the participants with the employment and retention support.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to learn new skills and learn more about the operations of a retail store. I would one day like to own my own small retail store to provide fashionable items for women of all sizes,” said Michelle, one of the four program participants.

The new program is just one of many ways that Goodwill Omaha is proudly serving members of our community by changing lives through education, training, and work.

“We are looking forward to offering another class in the coming months,” says Aguilar.

Sector training opportunities are available to those in the community who desire training to increase their employability in order to secure employment.


Written By: Joshua Meyer

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Press Release – YouthBuild Omaha Members Celebrate In Graduation Ceremony

For Immediate Release

July 11, 2018

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 On-Site:

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.

For Information Contact:

Ann Woodford
Marketing Manager
Goodwill Omaha
402-231-1919
[email protected]

YouthBuild  Omaha LogoAmeriCorps Logo

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Press Release – Young Adults Gain Valuable Job Training at Goodwill

For Immediate Release

July 2, 2018                           

 

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.

Available On-Site:

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.

 

For Information Contact:

Ann Woodford

Marketing Manager

Goodwill Omaha

402-231-1919

[email protected]

To download the press release, please click here.

 

 

 

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Kim Streit, A Story Behind the Store

Kim Streit, A Story Behind the Store

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.

Kim Distributing Softlines Back to Camera

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.

Kim Streit Distributing Clothing Facing Camera

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.

Kim Streit Distributing Hardline Facing Camera

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.”

Kim Streit pushing wares cart not facing camera

“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 Streit distributing hardlines

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.

Kim Streit Smiles while helping coworkers

 


Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist
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Press Release – Attorney General Investigation of Goodwill Concludes

For Immediate Release

Attorney General Investigation of Goodwill Concludes

(Omaha, NE) Goodwill fully cooperated with the Attorney General throughout the investigation and the agency is pleased that the investigation has concluded. We appreciate the professionalism with which the Attorney General conducted the investigation.

We also appreciate the Attorney General’s courtesy and consideration extended to Goodwill by recognizing and citing progress made by current Goodwill leadership to bring the agency back onto a good path. Goodwill will fully comply with the terms and conditions of the Consent Decree.

For Information Contact:
Dr. Michael McGinnis
Brig. Gen. (Ret), USA
CEO & President
Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa
402-231-1911
[email protected]

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Bikes for Block Party

Bikes for Block Party

We kicked off summer at the Ames Avenue Block Party on Friday, June 1 at Heartland Workforce Solutions, along with other community partners. This year was the fifth annual Ames Avenue Block Party—a community event created to promote Omaha 360’s Harmony Week. The event promoted peace, education, and a sense of community through diversity. Stakeholders, community agencies, and generous sponsors put forth efforts to reduce barriers and gave access to resources such as healthcare providers, financial institutions, workforce development agencies, and many other community agencies.

Block Party Partner

With close to 500 attendees, it was an evening filled with activities and opportunities to increase individual and family success. Goodwill Omaha was named one of the 2018 partner agencies. This partnership gave our Employment Ready team the opportunity to be heavily involved in the planning process. YouthBuild Omaha and Employment Ready had tables at the Ames Avenue Block Party and were able to assist individuals in the community and spread awareness of Goodwill’s mission.

Programs Working Together

Our retail stores supported the event by donating children’s bikes for a free raffle drawing that youth could enter the names in. Prior to the event, Work Experience Trainer, Steve Andrews and Work Experience students took time to make sure the bikes were in tip top shape before being raffled off. Students helped make sure the chains, brakes, and tires were all in proper working condition. Teamwork between our mission programs is essential at Goodwill. All of our programs assist each other in some way, working toward the advancement of our mission—changing lives and strengthening communities through education, training, and work.


JoshMeyer-MarketingSpecialist

Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist
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Kick off the summer with the Ames Avenue Block Party!

Kick off the summer with the Ames Avenue Block Party – June 1

Bring your families and help us kick off summer at the Ames Avenue Block Party! Please join us on Friday, June 1, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Heartland Workforce Solutions at 5752 Ames Avenue.

The Ames Avenue Block Party is a community event created to promote Omaha 360’s Harmony Week. The event promotes peace, education and community by bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to reduce barriers in accessing resources such as healthcare providers, financial institutions, workforce development agencies, as well as many other community agencies. These agencies will engage in positive activities with youth and families throughout the event.
Many thanks are in order to Boys Town and Heartland Workforce Solutions for leading and hosting the event efforts for the past five years. Year-over-year attendance has increased from 300 to over 1,000 participants.

Now in its fifth year, we are proud to announce our 2018 partner agencies: North Omaha Adolescent Health, Heart Ministries, the Hope Center for Kids and Goodwill Industries.

Join us and enjoy free activities such as bounce houses, balloon artists, face painting and a variety of other opportunities – provided by our generous sponsors: First National Bank, Bank of the West, United Health Care and Centris Federal Credit Union.

Our on-site food vendors and other in-kind sponsors include Godfathers Pizza, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Big Mama’s Kitchen, Hardy Coffee Company, Jimmy John’s, Chick-fil-a, Raising Cane’s, and Frito-Lay.

Stop by the Goodwill Industries table to enter a raffle! Ten children’s bikes will be raffled off during the event, you must be present to win. Also, stop by the YouthBuild Omaha table to learn more about one of Goodwill’s many mission programs and hear about all of the great service the AmeriCorps members are providing in our community.

The goal of the Ames Avenue Block Party is to decrease community violence while increasing overall individual and family success.

Thank you to all of the service providers in attendance who link families to necessary supports and services within the North Omaha community.

Timeline for the event:
4:00 Event Begins
4:30 Matching Knights Steppers Performance
4:45 Invocation Fr Boes, Pastor Portia Cavitt & Faith Leaders
5:45 Dance Contest (Ages 8 and up)
6:00 Dance Contest (Ages 8 and under)
6:30 Goodwill Bike Raffle
7:00 Event Closing

Ames Avenue Block Party Contact:
Melissa Steffes – Community Engagement Development Officer
Boys Town
Phone: 402-630-3862
[email protected]

To download the press release, please click here.

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Donations Through Omaha Gives! Support Goodwill Employment Services

Donations Through Omaha Gives! Support

Goodwill Employment Services

Omaha Gives Combined Images From LIV lounge

On Wednesday, May 23, the Omaha metro came together to support local nonprofit agencies through Omaha Gives!—an event hosted by the Omaha Community Foundation. Omaha Gives! is a year-round, online giving campaign with the mission of growing community-based  philanthropic efforts in Douglas, Sarpy, and Pottawattamie counties. Each May, a 24-hour online giving event is held to celebrate nonprofits. All nonprofits in the Omaha metro from small startups to seasoned organizations are given the opportunity to participate and receive donations.

This year marked the 6th annual Omaha Gives! philanthropy event. Just this year alone, our community came together to support 970 nonprofits and raised over $7.4 million. Goodwill Omaha has participated in Omaha Gives! since 2013 and has raised over $125,000 total for our mission programs. During the 2018 Omaha Gives! campaign, Goodwill had 36 supporters who who generously donated over $9,800. The funds raised in 2018 will directly support our Employment Ready and Business Solutions programs.

Through these programs, we can serve anyone in our community, regardless of qualifying criteria, and help them prepare for and find meaningful employment. Anyone in need of employment assistance in the Omaha Metro area can come to Goodwill and receive assistance.

Combined Image 2 LIV lounge

Programs Supported

Employment Ready staff provided nearly 17,000 services to program participants in the past year- ranging from practice interviews, to criminal history abatement, to employability skills before and after hire.

Business Solutions is the second program related to this initiative. Business Solutions takes the same approach as Employment Ready, but focuses those efforts on employers, rather than job seekers. Our Business Solutions staff specializes in identifying the hiring needs in our city, and matching those needs with the people we serve.

Employment Ready and Business Solutions staff work together seamlessly within Goodwill.  Employment Ready values the job development efforts that Business Solutions maintains in the community, as it allows them to concentrate on job readiness.  Business Solutions needs work-ready people to fill employer needs. We’ve designed these two programs so that they operate in a connected but independent way—providing the best services to people and businesses alike.

Thank You!

We are so thankful for the generosity of those in our community who stand behind our mission of changing lives and strengthening communities through education, training and work. As always, it is truly amazing to see Omaha come together and support all of it’s wonderful nonprofits!

Thank you to everyone who has and continues to support our mission. To find out more about our mission and programs, click here.

Save the date for next year’s giving day on May 22, 2019! Or click here to give year-round.

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