Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida offers new Employee Program

Goodwill Investing in Valued Employees Program (G.I.V.E Program)
By: Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida
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* Goodwill

* Family

* Fort Myers - Florida - US

* Services

FORT MYERS, Fla. - July 30, 2019 - PRLog -- The cost of living in Florida is increasing faster than income levels.  Jobs in retail, the most common occupation in Florida, generally pay well below $20 per hour, yet the hourly wage necessary to support a family is nearly $30/hour.  Even if both parents work full time, most times they still fall short with rising healthcare, childcare, and housing costs.

At Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida (SWFL), 48% of the total workforce is identified as having one or more disadvantages, or have a self-disclosed disability making the struggle even greater.  To combat this continual struggle, Goodwill SWFL is implementing a new employee mentoring program: Goodwill Investing in Valued Employees Program (G.I.V.E. Program).  For the nearly 800 Goodwill employees working throughout the Southwest Florida area, the new family strengthening and supportive services will help those experiencing multiple barriers to self-sufficiency.

"The new G.I.V.E. program is an inward focus on our employees which supplements our external work," says Fred Richards the VP of Community Support Services at Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida.  "It is imperative that our organization invest in our employees who have multiple barriers to independence."

Patricia (Patty) Fernandez, a current Goodwill employee was hired as the Employee Resource Coordinator, and will be piloting the new program.  Ms. Fernandez will work alongside the employees who become participants to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) addressing needs in employability, financial literacy, housing, transportation, and education.

"We value the contribution of individuals with disabilities and disadvantages in our work force. With this program we are investing in developing their skills for life enrichment and success with self-sufficiency", stated Ms. Fernandez.

Through Job-Link centers, people have access to help with resume preparation, interviewing skills, assistance with ACCESS (benefits), linkage to community resources, access to online employment opportunities and employment services, and access to unemployment benefits online. These services have always been available to Goodwill employees, but the unique aspect of G.I.V.E. is that every employee will now have a localized center to receive this information, and can meet with the Employee Resource Coordinator on company time. In addition each employee who becomes a participant will have an IDP created that will guide the delivery of services and the participant's actions.

As the G.I.V.E. Resource Coordinator, Ms. Fernandez will facilitate the removal of barriers holding back employees from setting and accomplishing their individual/family goals.  Her office number is 239-995-2016 ext. 2203 and email is

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Debra Donatto
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