Today, Thanksgiving Day, most of us will take a brief moment to pause to reflect upon and to be thankful for important things like freedom, food security, places to call home and jobs. The harsh reality is that many people in the U.S. lack these basic needs today. In fact, according to most recent available data:
With that harsh reality top of mind, it’s not a big leap to consider how one might help, such as by making charitable contributions or volunteering. Considering the limited resources available to community-based organizations, coupled with increased requests for help, these acts of kindness are incredibly important to the people who need assistance and the organizations that provide it.
But more than kind acts are necessary to prevent other people from a similar future fate. Edgar J. Helms, Goodwill’s founder believed that the solution starts with jobs.
The fact is that policymakers’ decisions affect these challenges. I’m not just talking about more funding, although that’s certainly an important part of the equation. I’m also talking about changing existing programs, authorized in federal statutes that shape job training; elementary, secondary, higher and adult education; welfare; supports for people with disabilities; benefits for veterans; and other programs.
The right changes could greatly improve the employment outlook for people nationwide. Here are some examples of the effect such changes could have in our communities.
- Young people graduate high school prepared to succeed in jobs and/or higher education.
- People who are not prepared to succeed are helped through a holistic approach that considers and addresses their most pressing employment challenges.
- Workers have the skills employers need, the ability to adapt and opportunities to learn skills needed in the future.
- Businesses benefit from a workforce that is prepared to compete.
- Communities across the country are stronger and more vibrant.
With a bitterly contested election still a fresh memory and our government still narrowly divided these changes will not come easily. Yet time and time again, when many people get involved, this nation has demonstrated its capacity to succeed despite overwhelming odds. And I believe we can overcome our current differences and challenges in order to make positive changes that affect people’s lives.
But these changes won’t happen unless many people get involved and collectively demand that policymakers make them a priority. This is why on this Thanksgiving Day, I also encourage to be an advocate for changes that promote opportunity and economic stability for people in your community!
Getting involved by staying informed and taking occasional action is easy to do. By registering with Goodwill’s legislative action center, you will receive brief weekly updates about related developments in Washington. When needed, you will also be notified when you can urge your policymakers to support positive changes.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.