Wichita, KS — Goodwill Industries of Kansas today announced that it will be able to further invest in Kansans working toward enhancing their educational experience and career skillsets with a $300,000 grant from Bank of America. The funding from the bank will support NexStep Unlocked, a structured and supportive re-entry program for individuals currently participating in probation or parole.
This newest initiative, which will span three years, builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work in Wichita to address the underlying social issues individuals face to gain access to capital and reach economic success, particularly in communities of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis. The grant is also part of the bank’s expanded $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity and further supports Goodwill Industries of Kansas’s long-standing partnership with Bank of America Wichita, spanning over 20 years.
“Bank of America is dedicated to partnerships that provide new ways to advance opportunity and success in Wichita. NexStep Unlocked has a proven achievement record, making a real difference in the lives of local residents,” said Shawn Lancelot, President, Bank of America Wichita. “This grant will help create equitable and lasting change by providing the tools, resources and support needed for career placement and advancement.”
The funding will be distributed through NexStep Unlocked’s various programming, which gives those involved with the justice system the chance to gain an education and a life-sustaining income. Focused on a 3-pillar approach: education, life skills, and employment, NexStep Unlocked provides the opportunity for eligible students to complete a career pathway through WSU Tech, earn college credit and industry recognized credentials, as well as their high school diploma.
“We believe the NexStep Unlocked program participants can build a better future for themselves and their families, as well as provide meaningful contributions to our local economy,” said Chris Stanyer, Vice President of Career Services, Goodwill Industries of Kansas. “Through this partnership with Bank of America, we will leverage and enhance our current programming over the next three years to contribute an additional $300,000 into our foundational services, enabling even more employment successes in our community.”
Recently, the program graduated its third cohort of students, with many of the participants already placed in a career related to their field of study. Current employment opportunities include skilled jobs with Textron Aviation and Harper Trucks. Additionally, a special component of this year’s program was mentorship from participants of the second cohort, which experienced a 100% success rate.
For more than 60 years, Goodwill Industries of Kansas has been a trusted resource and advocate for people with disabilities, and these services have grown to include job training and life skills development, community employment and internship programs, and targeted case management. With this, local leadership in Wichita acknowledged that lack of education is another critical barrier to employment. Now, as programming continues to evolve in order to meet these educational needs, thousands of Kansans have now started a career after earning their GED, college credits, technical certificates or learning English through expanded opportunities and services such as those offered through NexStep Unlocked.
About Goodwill Industries of Kansas, Inc.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Goodwill Industries of Kansas provides opportunities for people with disabilities and barriers to employment seeking independent and productive lives. Hundreds of people with disabilities receive case management services and develop life and job skills through employment at Goodwill’s home office and in the community. Whether it be recycling donated items or preparing insulation for local aviation manufacturers, Goodwill clients and employees have found success and become more independent through work in our contracts division.
In addition, adults work toward their GED and other certificate programs through NexStep Alliance, a partnership between Goodwill and WSU Tech. More than 1,400 individuals receive services through Goodwill each year. These programs are supported by 18 retail stores in Kansas along with an online division at shopgoodwill.com/ks. For more information about Goodwill, visit goodwillks.org.
About Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).
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