Good Careers Start Here
WHAT IS GOOD CAREERS START HERE?
Good Careers Start Here is Goodwill’s newest program. It’s designed to connect our entry-level workers with the resources and relationships they need to pursue careers with family-sustaining wages.
Good Careers provides pathways out of poverty that support and prepare individuals for high-demand jobs.Goodwill is working with local Workforce Investment Boards and community colleges to determine what careers are in high demand in the community. Some examples of high demand fields are in health care, construction, transportation and metal fabrication.We want to help individuals get the education they need to pursue a career that will provide long-term financial security. Many of these careers are attainable through short-term training that involves a vocational certificate or an associate’s degree.Good Careers Start Here provides funding and support services to go back to school. This program is offered to income eligible Goodwill employees, their immediate family members and those who have been served in the community by Goodwill. Participants can earn their general equivalency diploma (GED), a certificate in a technical field, or a two-year associate’s degree to prepare them for a family sustaining, high demand job in the community.
THE NEED: FILLING THE SKILLS GAP
In every community, businesses are in need of skilled employees. The average age of American skilled workers is 55 years-old. These essential workers will retire soon, and there are not enough young people coming through the skilled training pipeline to fill the gap. Good Careers is a solution that will provide local businesses skilled and dedicated workers.
We want to help Individuals who are seeking a better life and are often stopped by life barriers. Many are single parents, earning entry-level wages and are often in survival mode to make ends meet. Between the struggle to pay for childcare, transportation, and the costs associated with going to school, parents feel that there is no hope. Good Careers Start Here provides many layers of support to eliminate barriers and ensure success.
WHY IS GOODWILL STARTING THIS PROGRAM?
Through its social enterprise of stores and business services, Goodwill Keystone Area is able to provide entry-level positions for individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
For many of these individuals, despite their hard work and dedication, the lack of a formal education is a barrier to advancing to a higher paying job and self-sufficiency.
Our mission can go beyond simply helping individuals find a job. The long-term goal is to transition people beyond Goodwill into a meaningful career that will allow them to break out of the poverty cycle and earn a family sustaining salary.
WHO IS FUNDING THIS PROGRAM?
The Goodwill Keystone Area Foundation is funding a pilot project for the first group of individuals who want to work and make a better life. The Foundation is seeking support from individuals and the business community to grow and develop the program throughout the central and southeast PA region.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR GOOD CAREERS START HERE?
Eligible participants are Goodwill Keystone Area employees, immediate family members or those who have been served in the community by Goodwill, and whose family income is less than 200% of the Federal poverty rate. Additionally, they must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- Employed one year or more
- In good standing with their employment
HOW ARE PARTICIPANTS SELECTED?
Participants are selected based on information gathered through written application, essay questions and interviews.
THE CAREER NAVIGATOR: STAFF SUPPORT
There are many barriers that prevent individuals from completing a higher education, such as, access and cost of childcare, transportation to classes, access to computer and internet, and the stress of balancing school, work, and childcare. The Good Careers program provides many layers of support to eliminate barriers and ensure success. The Career Navigator position has been specifically developed to provide guidance to the participants throughout their journey. The Career Navigator takes each person through every step of the process from helping outline career goals, selecting a school and guiding them through family, childcare, work and school schedules.
OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS
Goodwill funds the traditional costs of education, such as tuition and fees, as well as the non-traditional costs like childcare and transportation. Goodwill also provides laptops to all participants.
Before signing up for any classes and starting school, all participants must complete the Good Careers Prep Course. The Career Navigator oversees and teaches the prep course. This class offers assessment tools to help them identify abilities, skills and interests and match them to family sustaining careers. Because many of the participants have been out of school for years, the course also focuses on developing time management skills, goal-setting, and strategies for studying.
As participants attend school, they continue to meet with the Career Navigator and with their cohort of Good Career participants. Many individuals seeking to break out of the cycle of poverty often feel isolated from a sense of community because they lack trust and social cohesion. Engaging with peers through productive and supportive community-led activities, such as learning circles, support groups, and healthy activities, provides emotional support and builds trust. Additionally, after the participants earn a certificate or degree, each person receives assistance from a Goodwill Employment Specialist in applying and preparing for jobs in their new career.
MEET SOME PARTICIPANTS
Misty, an employee at the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in Shamokin Dam, wants to someday be a Certified Public Accountant. But the 33-year-old has her hands full caring for her 7-year-old daughter and working full-time.
Without Good Careers Start Here, realizing her dream would have stayed just that- a dream. "I'm a single mom, so my money goes to bills and my daughter," Misty said.
Through Good Careers, Misty takes online accounting courses offered by Luzerne County Community College as there is no convenient college near her. Misty is starting fresh with no college credits. Misty was able to get a laptop and Wi-Fi hotspot through the program since she doesn't have internet or cable at home, conveniences most nowadays take for granted. Good Careers Start Here has also helped her with the cost of books and the Career Navigator assisted her in applying for grants. Without this program, college would still be a lofty goal.
Misty explained, being a part of this program has benefits outside of helping people stay in and finish school. The camaraderie of being with other women in the program as they transition from one station in life to another has helped her better understand common challenges, frustrations, aspirations and solutions. "It's nice to be surrounded by other people who have the same type of life challenges and goals," Misty described.
Misty believes that this program is the avenue to the life she and her daughter need. "If this wasn't available, there's absolutely no way I could do it. I would just have to stay content and stay struggling constantly," said Misty.
For some, being a single mother of two in your early fifties with an eye towards starting college with no college credits would be a scary proposition. Not for Sandra.
An employee at the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in Harrisburg, Sandra tried to find a way to get to college, but her busy schedule and the cost of school were barriers for her. Then along came Good Careers Start Here. "It's something that I have been contemplating for years, but obstacles always came up. Good Careers was my ticket to education," said Sandra.
Sandra is accustomed to balancing her family budget with two children, 13 and 16, but had no idea how to apply for grants. "I wasn't sure how to go about financial aid. I needed someone to walk me through the steps. Marcella, our career navigator, is helping me do that," Sandra said.
Good Careers will pay for her first semester and help her apply for grants for the rest of her college career. Sandra said the guidance she got from Good Careers was a huge confidence booster. It has also guided her to decide on which direction she wants to take her life. Sandra was accepted at HACC and is pursuing an associates degree business management.
"I'm trying to keep my home and I am just tired of scraping and struggling financially. I think this is a perfect time to go. Plus, I can be a good role model for my kids," Sandra said.
Jamie has enjoyed her work as a therapeutic support aide with Goodwill for the past four years, but has wanted to take her career up another notch for a long time.
She always saw barriers in her way, one of which is common to many people: learning how to make time in your life to get the things you want out of life. "Time management. That was my biggest hurdle. We learned how to budget our time in the prep class. Let's face it. .. all of us work full-time, so learning how to budget our work and school schedule with our family and outside activities has really been a big help, for me," Jamie said.
Through Good Careers Start Here, Jamie has decided that she wants to be a cardiology technician. She's signed up for a one-year certificate program that will help get her there.
"I thank Goodwill and our Career Navigator for giving me this opportunity because I have wanted to go back to school for a long time and never had the push to do it until this program came along. I can't express my gratitude enough," Jamie said.
Contact Executive Vice President John McHenry at email@example.com or 717.525.6206.
If you would like to make a direct donation to the Good Careers Start Here Program:
1. Make check payable to: Goodwill Keystone Area Foundation
2. Note on the memo line of the check: Good Careers Start Here
3. Send the check to:
Goodwill Keystone Area Foundation
Attention: John McHenry
1150 Goodwill Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17101
CREDIT CARD VIA PHONE
1. Call Ben Cassel, the Foundation Administrative Assistant, at 717.525.6210. Standard hours are M-F, 8am to 4:30pm. If he is not available, please leave your name and phone number and your call will be returned. Please do not leave your credit card information.
2. Be sure to note that your donation is for Good Careers Start Here.