Micheal Meyer — Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley
Let’s be frank: if you’re fortunate enough to have Labor Day as a day off from work, you’re most likely using the day to gather around the grill with your family, catch up on episodes of your favorite binge-worthy show, or scope out holiday sales at online and local retailers.
I don’t blame you. It’s easy to overlook Labor Day’s original meaning — celebrating the the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country — when the tangible actions you can take to recognize and champion employment opportunities in your community aren’t always clear.
Understanding the actions you can take to improve the lives of workers in your community starts with awareness. And at Goodwill Industries of the Monocacy Valley, we know firsthand the power of a paycheck for Maryland workers and their families.
According to the United Way’s ALICE Study of Financial Hardship, 28 percent of households in Carroll County and 32 percent of households in Frederick County struggle to support themselves. Let that sink in: nearly one out of every three families you pass on the street or brush carts with in the supermarket face challenges affording housing, child care, food, transportation and health care.
A paycheck earned from an in-demand job with the opportunity for career growth is the biggest lever we can pull to help these individuals build long-term stability for themselves and their families. Across the country, Goodwill organizations helped more than 1.7 million people in accessing in-person services in 2017 to advance their careers and overcome employment barriers.
Locally, we’re a major employer in the community, providing jobs for more than 300 individuals in the community at our corporate office, employment services centers, retail sites and shopgoodwill.com e-commerce operations. We also work with community partners and funders to help workers in Carroll and Frederick counties increase their career and financial stability through:
Community program services that provide any adult with free access to resume development, job search support, basic computer training and mock interviews.
Youth development programs that focus on skills and interest assessments, career exploration, continuing education, and job placement and coaching.
Supported employment opportunities for adults with disabilities centered on person-centered planning, self-advocacy, soft skills training, job placement and coaching, and retention services.
As we close out the year and head into 2019, we’ll be ramping up our services to veterans and their families, providing targeted support to help these individuals translate their military skills to the civilian labor market, pursue additional education, participate in budget coaching and secure referrals to additional supports, like mental health services and housing.
But the buck doesn’t stop here at Goodwill. Your direct engagement helps us and our partner organizations in the community move the needle when it comes to connecting workers in Carroll and Frederick counties to a family-sustaining paycheck.
When you donate your gently used clothing and household items to Goodwill, and shop at our eight retail locations or online at shopgoodwill.com/gimv, you do more than clear out space in your closet or score a great costume for your company Halloween party. With your participation, more local workers will be prepared to secure jobs of the future where both demand and opportunities for career growth are high.
More parents will be able to save for their family’s future and stop worrying when the next financial emergency will hit. More students will finish high school, and pursue post-secondary education and careers aligned to their interests and labor market demands. More people with disabilities will participate in and advance in the workforce on a path aligned to their individual goals and abilities. And more veterans will find careers with civilian employers that leverage and celebrate the skills they built while serving our country.
If you’re already a Goodwill donor or shopper, thank you. If it’s been awhile since you’ve stopped in, we invite you take a few moments to explore those stacks of unused items in your garage or attic, or plan your next shopping trip to refresh your fall wardrobe.
With your support, we’ll build a strong and prosperous workforce in Carroll and Frederick counties, and help more individuals and families realize the power of a paycheck.
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Michael Meyer is the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley.