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NYSID News Blog

August 3, 2015

Long-Time Member Agency Profile: Goodwill Industries

Category: General — NYSID @ 3:00 pm

As NYSID continues its 40th anniversary celebration, we acknowledge some of our long-time member agencies for creating meaningful employment for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout our 40-year history.

Individuals with disabilities receive training and employment at Goodwill stores

In the coming weeks, we’ll highlight these member agencies to demonstrate their human service support and economic impact within communities across New York State. We’ll look back at their early days, update their current success stories, and envision what the future holds.

Today’s member agency is Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey, Inc.

NYSID: The slogan for our 40th anniversary is “40 Years of Looking Forward.” What are some of the ways in which your agency has been looking forward and continues to do so?

Goodwill: Throughout its history, Goodwill has looked to the future by being alert to the needs of the community.

In the early 1990s, Goodwill realized that in order to help adults find work, it needed to serve their children. That’s when the agency launched its Youth and Community Services Division, realizing that in order to succeed in placing people in jobs, it had to serve the whole family. Then, when the U.S. government instituted the welfare law in 1995, Goodwill inaugurated workforce development programs to serve welfare applicants and recipients exclusively.

Goodwill’s Operation: GoodJobs provides a holistic integration of career services with family and financial strengthening services for U.S. veterans and their families

A decade after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Goodwill noticed the large numbers of U.S. veterans returning home after serving abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them returned home with disabilities or PTSD. Goodwill opened its Operation: GoodJobs to serve U.S. veterans, their spouses and families to help them reintegrate to civil life after the military.

NYSID: When was your agency founded? How many people with disabilities were employed by your agency then and now?

Goodwill: Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey, Inc. is celebrating its centennial this year. The first Goodwill in New York was founded in Brooklyn on February 13, 1915. In 1919, St. Paul’s Community House founded a Goodwill in Jersey City. The Brooklyn Goodwill merged with Manhattan Goodwill in 1962 and with Northern New Jersey Goodwill in 1999 to form Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey. Goodwill’s beginnings in Brooklyn were such a success that the nationwide movement got its name from the Goodwill in New York.

Today, with headquarters in Astoria, Queens, Goodwill serves 95,000 people and places 8,400 individuals in jobs throughout the metropolitan area annually. In 2014, Goodwill served 12,433 people with disabilities and placed 1,723 people with disabilities in jobs. Of these, 1,148 New Yorkers with disabilities worked 983,570 employment hours on Preferred Source contracts at Goodwill.

In the same period, GoodTemps, its temporary staffing agency, placed 1,188 people with disabilities in jobs. The rest were placed by Goodwill’s Rehabilitation departments and programs that serve U.S. veterans and immigrants and refugees.

Goodwill programs offer job search skills including resume and interview preparation

NYSID: What jobs do people with disabilities still perform today, as they did years ago? What are some of the newer jobs for this workforce responding to marketplace and technology changes?

Goodwill: People with disabilities continue to sort clothing and household goods to sell in Goodwill stores as they did 100 years ago. Today, the agency places individuals in all types of clerical and office management positions and professional jobs.

Goodwill only sells clothing and household goods in optimal condition. The agency accepts all donations because it wants to help New Yorkers to re-use and re-purpose. However, clothing and household items that do not sell in Goodwill stores goes to its outlet store in Long Island City, Queens, to be sold by the pound. Whatever is not sold there is sold to salvage companies that will turn these materials into carpeting, insulation and other products.

NYSID: How important has your agency’s membership with NYSID been to your longevity and success?

Goodwill: Two factors have helped the agency’s programs succeed in placing individuals with disabilities in jobs: extended supported employment services with job coaching, and educating employers on how individuals with disabilities are reliable workers who contribute to its bottom line and help an organization flourish. In extended supported employment, offering job coaching and developing individualized plans for each of its program participants have helped Goodwill programs succeed.

Membership with NYSID has allowed Goodwill to connect with other nonprofit organizations and to secure contracts for our industries.


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