Monday, June 17, 2024

Best Places to Work 2023: Goodwill Industries

by BIZ Magazine

When most people think of Goodwill Industries, they think thrift stores.  But what most people don’t know about Goodwill’s social enterprise, it actually supports a very specific vital mission for our community. 

The Goodwill movement was founded in 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts by the Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a married missionary, who began collecting clothing and other used items for the immigrants getting off ships as they arrived in America.  Initially he gave the items away, but soon discovered that by selling these items, he could employ individuals who were struggling to find employment. They were paid $4 a day (which at that time was a good income) to help collet, repair and fix items.  

Locally in 1926, the First United Methodist Church of Shreveport started a Goodwill Industries store which operated out of a Sunday school classroom until 1937, when the first store opened on Texas Street.  Today, Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana is one of 156 Goodwill territories across the US, and is known regionally to be one of the leading employment providers.  

Goodwill’s mission is “Improving People’s Lives through the Power of Work” and our organization strives to fulfill this every day by operating nine retail stores, six Job Centers, 18 workforce development programs and 12 EDS contract sites within the 26 northern parishes of Louisiana.

Each client seeking our services is offered job readiness training, life skills, career coaching, job placement and retention assistance by qualified, dedicated staff.  Employers are offered opportunities by partnering to conduct open interviews, hiring events and job fairs. Currently, more than 150 businesses and organizations partner with Goodwill.

Last year, even in spite of the pandemic, Goodwill helped 1,050 individuals seek employment and placed 364 individuals into competitive employment.  Our success rate of those placed and employed after 90 days was 82%.  The average wage of those placed was $9.47 per hour.  Since 2010, Goodwill has helped more than 50,000 individuals obtain training and employment.

The purpose and vision for Goodwill is to ensure that every person finds meaningful employment and a purpose in life.  Goodwill does this by providing educational and job training, job placement and retention services throughout North Louisiana, helping individuals be able to provide for their families, become financially independent and improve their lives.

So the next time you think about where does all the donations go?  Think about how it is returned right back to our community in impact and community change.  

What the employees have to say:

“Working for Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana is an honor.  Goodwill does so much for the community.  If you ask the general public about Goodwill they will respond “it is the place that sells used clothes and hire people with disabilities”, but Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana is so much more than that.  Goodwill is a local mission that uses the stores sales to fund job training and placement programs giving individuals in our community a step-up and not a hand-out.” – Darlene Robinson

“I went from not having anything to my name, to be employed full-time, a stable home to live in, and

now a reliable means of transportation. I can say honestly say that Goodwill saved my life.” – Harold Dew





CULTURE: Goodwill Industries uses its’ guiding values and strong “teamwork” mentality to embody the workplace culture we strive to demonstrate daily. Our values include: 

– People: They are our greatest asset and investment. 

– Stewardship: We will be responsible for the resources entrusted to us and for protecting our organization’s assets while educating others about our mission. 

– Ethics: We are committed to doing what is right with honestly and integrity. 

– Learning: We provide an environment of continuous learning opportunities that empowers growth. 

– Innovation: We embrace change and challenge existing systems in bold and creative ways to exceed our goals and ever changing needs. While no company is perfect, our management team uses these principals each day to coach our employees, and revisits weekly with their employees to work towards a great workplace culture.

VITALITY: As one of the leading employment providers in North Louisiana, Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana creates an outstanding economic impact in our community. For 97 years, Goodwill has changed the lives of thousands by providing job-related training and assistance to disadvantaged job seekers. Since 2005, Goodwill has served more than 58,000 individuals. Goodwill is one of the 155 autonomous, Goodwill organizations across the country. Goodwill sells material donations to fuel its social enterprise that provides income to fund job placement and training opportunities to help individuals find employment, earn paychecks and build their skills. Goodwill creates better futures for to individuals by helping them secure employment and setting them on a patch for self-sufficiency. Currently, GINLA operates more than 20 job training and placement programs, 20 EDS contracts sites and nine retail stores throughout their 26 parish territory of North Louisiana, with an annual budget in excess of eleven million dollars. Annually, more than $3 million dollars of donated items are given to Goodwill, which is leveraged into more than $6 million dollars to fund our programs and operations.

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