Goodwill® Works to Build a Strong and Inclusive Workforce

Goodwill Reinforces the Need to Include People with Disabilities in our Nation’s Workforce
ROCKVILLE, MD — More than 105,000 team members work at Goodwill and have helped make Goodwill® a thriving social enterprise, dedicated to helping people find jobs, earn paychecks and care for their families. Goodwill knows firsthand the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce and believes that all people, including those with disabilities, need to be integrated into the workforce to make our economy stronger. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and Goodwill encourages the public and private sectors to strengthen their workforce by hiring qualified people with disabilities.
For more than 110 years, Goodwill has helped people navigate the challenges they face to finding employment, including disabilities, lack of education or work experience, and other factors that make it difficult for someone to gain employment and build a career. Goodwill staff members work with people to develop their employment skills, including writing résumés, job interview practice, job search help, and more. In addition, Goodwill trains people to work in a variety of high-growth industries outside of Goodwill such as health care, construction, retail, financial services and many other industries.
“More than 30,000 people with disabilities work at Goodwill. Our organization is growing because their professional expertise and positive contributions help Goodwill grow stronger,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “People with disabilities are ready to be the productive employees that businesses need to grow and thrive.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, people with disabilities have a 13.5 percent unemployment rate, nearly 60 percent higher than the unemployment rate of people without disabilities (7.8 percent as of October 2012). Goodwill stands with the U.S. Department of Labor and encourages companies and organizations to build more inclusive business cultures that value diversity and encourage leaders to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified individuals with disabilities, which include youth, older workers and veterans. People with disabilities make up a dependable workforce with higher rates of employee dedication and retention.
One such dedicated individual is Faith Weaver, who works as an administrative assistant at the Little Scholars Academy, a preschool in Lake Oconee, GA. Faith has a business administration degree from a local college but had a difficult time finding full-time employment. She has only partial use of her left arm due to a musculoskeletal birth defect. She says she never lost hope that she would find a full time job. Faith strengthened her skills through classes and community training through Goodwill’s vocational rehabilitation services. Her supervisor at the Little Scholars Academy raves about Faith’s skills and abilities, and the school has even hired a second employee from the program.
Another exemplary employee, Kris Jacques is a donor greeter at a Goodwill attended donation center in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Each day, he helps donors unload their vehicles and receives donations for sale at one of Goodwill’s 2,700 stores. The 28-year-old has been using a wheelchair most of this life, but that doesn’t keep him from performing a physically demanding job. He unloads cars, shuffles totes and moves equipment. Jacques came to Goodwill after he was laid off from his job at an auto part supply company. Goodwill supervisors noticed his determination, drive and can-do attitude from his first job interview. Combined with his previous work experience and excellent customer service skills, he earned the job and has been a valued Goodwill employee ever since.
“Faith and Kris are just two of the many qualified people with disabilities that Goodwill has trained and helped to find work,” said Gibbons. “Goodwill is ready to help businesses and organizations find productive employees with disabilities to strengthen our economy.”