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    Honoring Members of Congress Fighting for Employment

    Goodwill Industries International (GII) honored seven members of Congress and the President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, Inc. (Little Rock) with the nonprofit’s annual advocacy awards. The awards identify efforts to advance the nonprofit organization’s mission of helping people build careers and gain employment.  The honorees were announced on Wednesday, April 5, during a reception at the U.S. Capitol, as part of Goodwill’s annual advocacy event.

    Goodwill Industries of Arkansas President and CEO Brian Itzkowitz received the 2017 GII Advocacy Leader Award. As a leader in the community, he successfully advocated for the passage of a bill to establish adult education charter schools in Arkansas. An estimated 18 percent of Arkansas adults are without high school diplomas. The state ranks last in the nation among states for the percentage of adults who continue their education into post-secondary training. As a result of Itzkowitz’s efforts, the Excel Center® at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas will become the first charter school of its kind in the state, enabling adults ages 19 and older to return to school and earn their high school diplomas.

    Members of Congress who received GII’s National Policymaker Awards include:

    • Tom Rice (R-SC) for supporting Goodwill and the AbilityOne mission.
    • Mark Sanford (R-SC) for listening to and advocating for individuals with disabilities in their attempts to find work.
    • Tim Scott (R-SC) for his efforts to battle poverty in his home state.
    • Marc Veasey (D-TX) for his innovative efforts to bring and keep good-paying jobs in North Texas.
    • Rep John Larson (D-CT) for his ongoing work to enhance job creation through federal programs.
    • Tim Kaine (D-VA) for his longstanding advocacy for Virginians with employment challenges.
    • Peter DeFazio (D-OR) for his 30-year track record of supporting the needs of Oregon’s workers.

    Each award winner was nominated by a local Goodwill organization and chosen by the Public Policy Committee of the GII Board of Directors.

    More than 120 Goodwill advocates, including executives, workforce development professionals, volunteer board members and program participants, participated in the advocacy event and met with more than half of Congress.

    Advocacy Day 2017

    The high-priority topics for Goodwill and the people that it serves include:

    Funding: Goodwill urges Congress to continue to fund job-training programs that help youth, adults and older workers learn the career skills they need to find jobs. Specifically, Congress should maintain funding for programs including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which helps people receive the training they need to enter the workforce.

    Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act: Goodwill supports the reauthorization of CTE and welcomes the opportunity to shape the discussion and share experiences as bipartisan conversations occur.

    Charitable Giving: As Congress discusses tax reform, it is important that the charitable giving incentive for individuals is protected and expanded.

    You can lend your voice and support the advocacy event by sending a message to your Member of Congress via the Legislative Action Center.

    Laura Walling
    Senior Director of Government Affairs
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