This week I met some of the amazing new participants that will be working at the Freeport Goodwill store as part of a new work program for people with disabilities.. It was a very rewarding experience to see the start of such a great new program in yet another community.
The participants arrived on time and ready to start. Many of them had done their homework ahead of time and were able to answer questions about Goodwill’s history. They were excited to not only get to know one another better, but also to interact more with Goodwill staff and their job coach who they will work with on a daily basis.
In July Goodwill began the “Let’s Go to Work!” program at the Huntley, Illinois store. This program provides supportive employment to people with disabilities, giving them an environment where they can learn on the job with the help of a job coach. The employees in Huntley work together to sort, bag and label toys, jewelry, ties and other items for customers to buy in the store.
When Goodwill shoppers purchase one of these items, they are supporting this program and the employees that make it possible. In Freeport, participants will be working to sort, hang and reject clothes along with the other sales associates of the Goodwill store. This is a great program that really allows for mission integration in the stores. It gives jobs to people with disabilities, allowing these individuals to demonstrate a strong work ethic and desire to contribute to the workforce.
“Let’s Go to Work!” will expand in McHenry in spring of 2013 and continue to grow as Goodwill does, something I look forward to seeing.