Annie E. Casey Foundation Family Strengthening Award Winners Announced

Goodwill Industries International
Thursday, 19 June 2003

Four Goodwill agencies win the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Family Strengthening Awards. The awards program is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and provides a $20,000 reward to each Goodwill agency for having exemplary family strengthening programs in place.

"Communities are only as strong as the families that live in it and family programs like the Casey winners build up our neighborhoods," says George W. Kessinger, President and CEO Goodwill Industries International, Inc. "The overarching goal of each program is to promote independence for parents and children."

Family Progam Winners:

  • The Take Charge program at Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia (Macon) provides pregnant teens and young parents (up to age 25) with the skills and services needed to succeed as parents while working towards independence through stable employment. Goodwill also offers other services such as family planning, nutrition counseling, stress management, financial planning, GED preparation and conflict resolution advice. A volunteers mentor component provides participants with a model for relationships with peers, educators and potential employers.

    From 2001 to 2002, Take Charge has served 50 young parents and 109 children. To date, 19 teens have graduates from high school or obtained their GED, 21 are pursuing a diploma or GED, 5 are in college and 28 are employed.

  • Goodwill Industries of North Georgia (Atlanta) operates the NEW Choices for Women program that helps low-income women attain self-sufficiency through occupational, academic and personal skills training.

    The 11-week classroom and hands-on training program, in the construction industry, provides 280 hours of occupational training such as the safe use of power and hand tools, blueprint reading, forklift certification, commercial driver certificate preparation and the basics of construction math. The program also includes three weeks of on-the-job training and placement assistance with local employers. Goodwill takes a holistic approach to training, providing access to additional resources such as health and fitness training, transportation, childcare, housing assistance and other social supports.

    Since January 1995, more than 400 women have completed training and 81 percent were placed in apprentice positions earning on average $9.37 per hour. Seven women from the original class are working as commercial painters.

  • The START Partnership between Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa (Omaha, NE) and the U.S. Department of Labor was established to provide comprehensive employment and support services to the hardest-to-serve welfare recipients. Goodwill helps to identify a persons barrier to workplace success and then develops an individualized plan to reduce those barriers.

    START (Support, Training, Assessment and Retention) emphasizes a family-focused approach to services. Community partners may provide substance abuse treatment, literacy training, transportation and other supports that contribute to a person's ability to maintain a job.

  • Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota's (St. Paul) Bank Skills Training Program teaches basic skills needed to obtain an entry-level job in a bank or financial institution. Participants learn job specifics such as money handling and banking terminology and the importance of office etiquette, appropriate business attire, punctuality and a positive attitude during the four-week class.

    Since the goal of the program is to move people off welfare, Goodwill connects participants with the resources they need to manage childcare, transportation, health and other family issues. After participants are placed in jobs, Goodwill develops a career advancement plan.

For more information, or to contact Goodwill Industries International, see their website at: www.goodwill.org

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