“We’ve seen an increased number of people seeking our services,” says Fred Richards, Vice President of Career Development Services at Goodwill. “Goodwill served over 30,000 individuals in 2012. This is an increase from the 23,000 served in 2011. ”
A program that saw a large increase of individuals served was Goodwill’s Job-Link centers, which help people with employment, skills training, and family strengthening. Services range from resume creation and job placement to financial planning and referrals to other local agencies. 501 individuals were placed in employment through Goodwill’s employment programs and vocational rehabilitation in 2012, an increase from the 106 placed in 2011. More than 4,700 new clients came through the Job-Link centers, accessing the services an average of 4 to 5 times.
“Many individuals come to us in need of being linked to community resources, while others require access to emergency food at one of our Neighborhood Outreach sites,” continues Richards. “Others simply need a job.”
Other programs and services offered by Goodwill include Goodwill’s L.I.F.E. Academy charter school which provides schooling for students with developmental disabilities ages 11 through 22, The Goodwill SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute which helps aspiring entrepreneurs of low to moderate income levels with the skills they need to start their own businesses, income sensitive housing for seniors and people with disabilities, and Goodwill’s Neighborhood Outreach program which assists the communities of Pine Manor, Charleston Park, Page Park, and Suncoast Estates. Every one of these programs saw growth in 2012.
Goodwill’s numbers also reflect how the community’s need for these programs and services are growing. Aside from new clients, Goodwill saw over 136,000 returning clients, or individuals who used multiple services.
“Thanks to the support of the community, we were able to assist more people in more locations, such as new Job-Link centers in Englewood, Moore Haven, and Naples,” says Madison Mitchell, spokesperson for Goodwill. “Our programs and services are funded by the revenue of our stores. When people bring us donations or buy items from Goodwill, they are supporting Goodwill in helping people right here in Southwest Florida, people with disabilities and people with disadvantages that previously may not have had access to services like these.”
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. helps people overcome their barriers to employment and independence in Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties. To learn more about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, please visit the agency’s website at www.goodwillswfl.org.