Unity Through Opportunity and the Power of Work

by Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Relations, Goodwill Industries International

I didn’t realize the weight of the emotions I have been carrying until the last few moments of President Biden’s inaugural remarks when the floodgates opened and I let out all of my tears. All of the negative feelings related to the pandemic, concern for family and friends battling COVID, living in isolation, the insurrection, social injustice, anxiety for friends living within the military zone established in DC conflated with the pride for our country, the joy of watching history being made, and the hope I have for our future.

Our democracy was threatened in recent weeks and yet it prevailed. Now lawmakers have to rise to meet the challenges of the future (both those that are predictable and those that are unknown), and as citizens, advocates, leaders in our community, and providers of essential services – we must rise with them. In his address, Biden said, “Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.” These words ring true not only for the American people, but for a Congress with very narrow margins trying to represent a country that is still deeply divided.

The President focused on the things that unite us, asking “What are the common objects we love that define us as Americans? I think I know. Opportunity. Security. Liberty. Dignity. Respect. Honor.” As a provider of job training and workforce development, we know that the power of work provides these traits. Biden later noted, “With unity we can do great things. Important things… We can put people to work in good jobs… We can reward work, rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice.”

We hope the Administration will continue to put a focus on work, providing more funding for workforce development, promoting incentives for job training, and creating the flexibility employers and providers need to innovate so that we can ensure that individuals have the skills they need to be prepared for the jobs of the future.

Goodwill Industries International is a nonpartisan charitable nonprofit. As such, we have worked with all prior Administrations and have close relationships with lawmakers across all parties. We look for bipartisan solutions and diverse champions. We also hold true to our values and work for the best interest of the individuals and families we serve while we advance our mission. On behalf of Goodwill, we look forward to working with the Biden/Harris Administration and the Members of the 117th Congress. We will answer the call to step up, be bold, meet our obligations and create a better future for all of us, and we will do so together with your continued support, partnership, input and advocacy.