Prior to 1979, local individuals had access to Goodwill programming through Akron’s Goodwill chapter. In 1980, a group of Wayne County business leaders mobilized to form Goodwill Industries of Wayne County, Inc., a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, and ten years later the agency expanded to include Holmes County. Like the other Goodwill affiliates of Goodwill Industries International, Goodwill Industries of Wayne and Holmes Counties operates independently, guided by its own local Board of Trustees made up of diverse community leaders. In this way, local Goodwill agencies are able to develop programs based on the needs of their own unique communities.
Goodwill provides participants with training to obtain employment so that they can gain a sense of self-sufficiency, pride, and accomplishment while decreasing their reliance on public assistance programs. While Goodwill’s programs are designed to help all job seekers, the majority of participants report a disabling condition; a lack of literacy, high school equivalency (diploma or GED), or reliable transportation; a past criminal record; or a history of substance abuse.
Three divisions work together to provide Goodwill’s programming: Workforce Development, which is at the core of the Mission; Industrial Services, which works with local manufacturers; and Retail/Donated Goods, whereby donated items are sold at retail stores or recycled/repurposed. Both Industrial Services and Retail/Donated Goods provide on-the-job training opportunities for program participants while generating revenue for the Workforce Development division, which provides GED preparation, computer training, work and life skills training, resume writing, interview preparation, job-specific training, and other essential employment support.
Goodwill operates five stores within the two-county service area in Wooster, Orrville, Rittman, Millersburg, and Loudonville, generating income to provide employment training and services to local individuals with barriers to employment. Each year, Goodwill Industries of Wayne and Holmes Counties’ programming touches nearly 2,000 local individuals, helping them to reach their highest levels of independence and success through training and employment related services.
Goodwill Industries International (GII)
Goodwill Industries International was founded in 1902 in Boston by a Methodist minister who collected used household goods and clothing in wealthy areas of the city, then trained and hired poor individuals to mend and repair the items. He then resold the items to the people who repaired them, thus beginning the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out.” Each year, millions of individuals benefit from programming provided by over 175 Goodwill Industries International member organizations.
2018 was not only a great year for Goodwill, but was also a year for exciting change. We saw an increase in donations, revenue and mission program funding. Most importantly, we remained committed to connecting people in our community with meaningful opportunities to build BETTER & BRIGHTER FUTURES.
So, how did we accomplish all of this? The answer: we changed. We welcomed new ideas with excitement and adapted to the needs of our customers, our donors and our participants. We strengthened the impact we have in the communities we serve with a greater outreach; which now includes the addition of a comprehensive one-to-one case management program, aimed at helping local youth explore career and education opportunities, access training and employment resources and participate in community service experiences.
We continued to expand our retail and industrial services departments as well, by creating new partnerships and donation strategies, as well as reintroducing the Free Home Donation Pickup Program to Wayne and Holmes counties. The success of these departments gives Goodwill the ability to fund more valuable services and further impact the people we serve.
Last year, more than 3,680 individuals were supported by Goodwill programs in the two counties we serve, and we stay committed to helping thousands more achieve self-sufficiency through the Power of Work.
As we move along through 2019, I ask that you please continue to change along with us. Become advocates of Goodwill and share stories of our impact on this community. Tell your coworkers, friends and family about Sarah and Madison’s stories (2018 Graduate and Youth of the Year award recipients) and how Goodwill is NOT JUST A STORE…but much, much more.