As anyone who has ever known the satisfaction of achieving a professional goal knows, there is an intrinsic value to working that cannot be denied.  We innately crave purpose, a sense of accomplishment, self-respect fostered by accomplishment, and acknowledgement for our contributions to life around us.  Yet today, for nearly 80 percent of Americans with disabilities, opportunities to feel valued and fulfilled through meaningful employment do not exist. In 2017, 288,000 of the persons served by Goodwill self-described as having a disability.

Bryan and Angela’s Story

Angela and BryanBryan is a 27-year-old man diagnosed with Down Syndrome and ADHD. Bryan completed a situational assessment with Goodwill® and was referred to an Extended Employment Program.
Bryan’s mother, Angela, utilizes a wheel chair due to her cerebral palsy. Her mobility concerns make Angela uncomfortable when taking Bryan to social venues. Goodwill has offered them both employment and a social outlet. Although Bryan struggles with speech his communication has expanded both at home and in programming since he began with Goodwill. Bryan can now often be observed laughing with peers or joining in conversations.

“Goodwill has really filled a void that people need. They’ve had a huge effect on our family. I know my son is happy because he has a smile on his face.” — Angela

Jim’s Story

Jim Barnette, Goodwill Industries International’s 2012 Achiever of the Year, receives a commensurate wage through the Special Minimum Wage Certificate and a number of employment-first strategies and tools including: long term case management; an on-site Integration Specialist; and job education and accommodations to ensure the highest level of safety.
Watch Jim’s story, and how Goodwill helped him achieve a life of success.

Job Creation for People with Disabilities

An Open Letter from Jim Gibbons, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International (PDF, 188 KB)
As anyone who has ever known the satisfaction of achieving a professional goal knows, there is an intrinsic value to working that cannot be denied.  We innately crave purpose, a sense of accomplishment, self-respect fostered by accomplishment, and acknowledgement for our contributions to life around us.  Yet today, for nearly 80 percent of Americans with disabilities, opportunities to feel valued and fulfilled through meaningful employment do not exist.
The number of people with disabilities not accessing the workforce would be greater if not for a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows employers to utilize a Special Minimum Wage Certificate to hire those with the most severe disabilities.  This provision has led to the creation of jobs for hundreds of thousands of people with multiple physical and mental disabilities who report to work each day, flourish in friendships with their supervisors and co-workers, delight in mastering new tasks and learning new skills, and take pride in their “jobs well done.” Seven thousand of these Americans work at Goodwills across the country. Read More about the Special Minimum Wage Certificate (PDF, 217 KB)
Meet some of our valued team members with disabilities:
Our valued staff members with disabilities

For Once In My Life

“For Once In My Life” is the story of a unique band of singers and musicians – The Spirit of Goodwill Band based in Miami, FL – and their journey to show the world the greatness within each of them. The twenty-eight band members have a wide range of mental and physical disabilities and receive a commensurate wage as well as employment supports that allow them to enjoy the social and emotional benefits of employment.
“For Once In My Life” explores the power of music to help the band members’ unique talents emerge, develop and excel as they are nurtured and supported by Goodwill services. Learn More »

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