Goodwill® Organizations Awarded Grant for More Than Four Million Dollars to Improve Employment Outcomes and Reduce Recidivism Among Justice-Involved Young Adults

U.S. Department of Labor Funding to Assist Young People Exiting the Criminal Justice System

 Rockville, MD — Communities served by five local Goodwill® organizations will benefit from a $4.5 million grant to establish the Goodwill LifeLaunch young adult reentry program to provide access to employment, training opportunities and support services for 575 young adults, between the ages of 18 to 24. Goodwill Central Texas (Austin), Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit (MI) Goodwill Industries of Houston (TX), Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley (Johnstown, PA), and Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana (New Orleans) will operate the LifeLaunch program between July 2016 and June 2019 to support young adults who are currently or were formerly involved with the juvenile or adult justice system. LifeLaunch will be 80 percent federally funded; the remaining 20 percent is from non-governmental sources. This grant is part of a larger $64.5 million package of grants, representing the Obama Administration’s efforts to help break the cycle of poverty, crime and incarceration in America.

“Many of us need second chances for success. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 650,000 people are released from prison every year,” said Wendi Copeland, senior vice president of strategy and advancement at Goodwill Industries International. “The five local autonomous Goodwill organizations operating the LifeLaunch program will expand and enhance their skills training and employment services for young adults returning to their communities.”

Designed to disrupt justice involvement among young adults, the LifeLaunch program provides rewarding and engaging alternatives that lead to employment, career advancement and reduced risk of recidivism. Additionally, this program will prepare young adults with the academic competencies and credentials needed in the 21st century labor market, including providing access to high school diplomas or equivalents, postsecondary training, credentials aligned with local labor market demand, service learning opportunities, and paid work-based learning that contributes to employment readiness and provides real-world learning while doing.

The Goodwill LifeLaunch program design is based on research that demonstrates young people who have structured, progressive activities and experiences are better able to establish social, emotional, physical and cognitive competencies needed for success in their adult lives. LifeLaunch incorporates principles of positive youth development that improve a young adult’s ability to be productive in civil society.

Eligible young adults will be recruited from the justice system, community- and faith-based organizations, American Job Centers and Goodwill career centers in Austin, Detroit, Houston, Johnstown and New Orleans. All enrolled individuals will be assessed for their strengths, interests and needs, and provided targeted support and stabilization services, education and training opportunities, and employment and career advancement services. For individuals reentering communities from justice system confinement, LifeLaunch case managers will support finding housing, preparing for family reunification and linking to other support services. Upon release, young adults will be immediately referred to the Goodwill LifeLaunch program for orientation and program services.

Goodwill’s mission is to help people find jobs, earn paychecks and care for their families. When people donate to or shop at Goodwill’s more than 3,200 stores, they help provide job placement and training programs that support people facing challenges to employment, including people with criminal backgrounds, veterans and military families, people with disabilities, youth, older workers and many others.

To find your nearest Goodwill career center, donation center or store, visit For more information from the U.S. Department of Labor, visit

About Goodwill Industries International
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 164 community-based organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. Goodwill is the #1 brand doing the most good in the world (Brand World Value Index, 2016) and is one of America’s top 20 most inspiring companies (Forbes, 2014). Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,100 stores and online at®. Local Goodwill organizations also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding. Last year, Goodwill placed 312,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. Nearly two million people worked to build their career and financial assets by engaging with Goodwill team members. In addition, more than 35 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills. To learn more, visit

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook: GoodwillIntl.

Lauren Lawson-Zilai
Senior Director, Public Relations
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5266
[email protected]