Portland, OR Program Developer Wins Goodwill Award for Innovative Solutions in Employment Programming

Goodwill Industries International
Thursday, 19 June 2003

"Get to a paycheck fast" is the driving philosophy of the Transitional Employment Services program at Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette (Portland, OR). James Worsley, Deputy Director of Vocational Services, initiated the program in 1995 after observing that job preparation and readiness services were abound for unemployed people rather than actual work.

People with disabilities and disadvantages who have the job skills they need and are actively seeking work can now find free assistance at the Portland Goodwill. Last year, 3,505 people found jobs through the program at wages averaging $8.23 per hour for an average week of 34 hours.

The program is designed to get results quickly and keep costs low. From the beginning, clients are expected to take responsibility for their job search. Skilled placement specialists provide individualized and intensive assistance to each client. They coach the job-seekers on how to enhance their resumes, present themselves and locate available positions that match their skills, including those from the Goodwill's extensive employer resource bank.

A key to the program's success is the 30-day service timeframe. The urgency of a deadline creates a focus and momentum for both the job seeker and placement staff. It keeps both from getting bogged down with what they can't do, or in the case of the job seeker, what he or she may not be ready to do.

"Career services that are outcome driven are key to the organization's mission of helping people with disabilities achieve economic independence," says George Kessinger, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International, Inc. The Robert E. and Charlotte Watkins Award for Excellence in Mission Advancement is presented to Worsley for his innovative contribution to the advancement of the Goodwill mission.

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

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