The Hyatt earned Goodwill's Employer of the Year award because of its commitment to providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and other disadvantages. People with disabilities often have trouble getting hands-on job experience, but Hyatt Hotels and Resorts have made it possible for people with special needs to receive vocational training. Through a partnership with Hands On Educational Services, Hyatt locations across the country provide disability-neutral job training, to people like Goodwill program graduate Fred Cowens.
Cowens is Deaf, and has been employed for more than a year as a line cook at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point’s cold prep kitchen. In order to accommodate Cowens’ hearing impairment, the Hyatt makes sure that a sign language interpreter is available for employee meetings. The resort has also provided Cowens with a hand-held word processor, so that he can easily communicate with his co-workers.
Goodwill has named The Home Depot as its Business of the Year because of the support that the home improvement retailer has provided to the organization. For two years, The Home Depot has been a major supporter of Goodwill’s Festival of Trees and Tux and Trees Gala. In total, the company has generously donated 60 brand new pre-lit Christmas trees and over $500 worth of gift certificates to the event. In addition, The Home Depot has also decorated and sponsored a holiday tree each year, helping to raise $1100 at the Tux and Trees Gala. For more information about the Festival of Tree, visit http://www.tuxandtrees.com
In addition, Goodwill has also benefitted from the generosity of The Home Depot's community service volunteer program, “Team Depot." Team Depot members have reached out to Goodwill's charter school, the L.I.F.E. Academy, by sponsoring building workshops for the school's students with developmental disabilities. These workshops have helped L.I.F.E Academy students develop their motor skills by assembling picture frames, birdhouses, memory boxes, and most recently, nine picnic benches. More information about the L.I.F.E. Academy Charter School can be found at http://www.goodwilllifeacademy.org.
The Home Depot and Hyatt Regency Coconut Point received their awards at Goodwill's Annual Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, May 6, at the Three Oaks Banquet and Conference Center in Estero. Two-time World Disabled Waterskiing Champion Ann O'Brine-Satterfield was the keynote speaker at the luncheon.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. helps people with disabilities and other disadvantages to overcome their barriers to independence, through job placement programs, youth mentoring and education, vehicle assistance, and affordable housing. Goodwill supports these programs through the resale of donated goods at its 23 Retail & Donation Centers in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry Counties.
For more information on Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, visit http://www.goodwillswfl.org
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About Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida: Serving Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry Counties, Goodwill operates 24 thrift stores to support its mission of removing barriers to independence. Programs include income-sensitive housing, career placement assistance, the L.I.F.E. Academy Charter School, Four Wheels for Work, and others.