At Goodwill’s 2021 Annual Celebration Awards Banquet, we celebrated the lives changed in communities across Kansas as we recognized the extraordinary program participants, board members, staff and community leaders for their accomplishments. Find out more about our award recipients below.
When David came to Goodwill, he struggled with staying on task and communicating with peers. Sometimes he would avoid jobs altogether. But David wanted to earn a paycheck and become more independent, so Goodwill staff helped him develop his work skills in order to reach his goals. Now David has been with Goodwill for over 15 years and has grown tremendously in his abilities. He has learned to ignore distractions and focus on the task at hand. When help is needed, he is quick to volunteer. He’s learned new skills like how to operate the pallet jack and he often works all of the shifts available to him. With the help of Goodwill, David was able to gain a janitorial job in the community, though it was disrupted due to the pandemic. That hasn’t stopped him though – David recently completed an internship with Cintas through Project SEARCH and is working hard to find his next opportunity.
According to Ted’s coworkers at Martin Interconnect, you would never be able to guess he had barriers to employment prior to his time with Goodwill. In 2020 Ted was referred to a Goodwill Employment Training Specialist through Vocational Rehabilitation. He struggled with things like social skills, self-direction and communication. But Ted had goals. He wanted to move out on his own and lead an independent life. Working through Goodwill’s Community Employment program, Ted was able to find his perfect job and from there he has thrived. Not only does he achieve his assigned tasks, he also feels comfortable helping out in other positions. He goes out of his way to make his coworkers smile and they have taken notice. When Ted’s at work, they know it’s going to be a good day. He doesn’t stop when he clocks out at Martin Interconnect – he also enjoys making food deliveries and walking dogs. With the help of Goodwill, Ted has proven that anyone can reach their goals with hard work and perseverance.
After the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded, Aziz, a father of six found himself suddenly jobless. He knew he had to obtain his diploma to compete with other job seekers in the aviation manufacturing field in order to support his family. He began working towards this goal with NexStep Alliance and instructors could quickly see he was a positive and perseverant person. After earning his high school diploma he continued on to pursue his Associates degree in Machining Technology through NexStep’s partnership with WSU Tech and is on track to graduate in 2022. He has kept up with his school work while supporting his family as an Uber driver and has always found the time to encourage other students to reach their own goals too. From donating to cover another student’s GED test to encouraging his wife to join the English as a second Language program, Aziz understands the power and importance of an education.
Our adult education program, NexStep Alliance, utilizes our partnership with WSU Tech to provide adult learners the opportunity to earn college certifications or credits at the same time they are obtaining their high school diploma. WSU Tech has several in-demand career pathway options available to students including aviation maintenance, healthcare, information technology and more. Students in our newest program, NexStep Unlocked, have found immense success through WSU Tech’s fast-track welding program. Upon exiting the justice system, these students are working towards furthering their education to improve their chances at employment. Many have now gained welding jobs or are moving on to obtaining their Associates degree. Our education programs are strengthened by our partnership with WSU Tech, giving students the chance at bigger paychecks to support themselves and their families.
Goodwill serves as the lead agency for a Project SEARCH program with a focus on adults with disabilities. For the past 4 years, we have partnered with Cintas to provide internships to these individuals, where they learn job skills and gain valuable work experience. The Cintas team works alongside these interns, helping them grow, learn and prepare to enter the workforce. They celebrate their successes too, making a point to attend their Project SEARCH graduation ceremony, sharing stories and words of encouragement. Because of this partnership, over 60% of individuals who complete the Project SEARCH program have found employment within the community, some even gaining jobs with Cintas. Their dedication to assisting and guiding adults with disabilities allows for these individuals to lead independent and productive lives with purpose, pride and dignity.
North Oliver, managed by Becky Osburn with assistant managers Nick Florio and Kolin Keeler
Cherry Creek Store