BACK ROW: Tim Mattke, Jim Borris, Carl Vander Wilt, Karen Duffy, Brad Kalscheur, Tom Savage, Tom Richtman MIDDLE: Michelle Mason, David Marcus, Mary Dowell, Marilyn Vollrath, Irene Sudac, Laura Gough, Charlie Wright Jr., Dennis McNally SEATED: Bob Klug, Rich Meeusen, Jackie Hallberg, John Dziewa
Unavailable for photo: Jacque Bowles, Anthony Ross, Mason Ross
Working for a Brighter Future
The individuals we serve, people with disabilities and disadvantages, look to Goodwill for training and jobs, because they are seeking a brighter future for themselves and their families. In addition to providing them the tools and support they need to be successful, we encourage them to look forward, to be proactive, learn from their experiences, seize opportunities and welcome change. Because what they do right now makes the biggest difference in their future.
Similarly, Goodwill has had to adapt to change and make decisions this past year that will help ensure a brighter future. Our communities are diverse and dynamic. Shifts in business, demographics and economics meant that Goodwill needed to restructure existing programs and develop new ones to address these changes. For example, Goodwill has successfully transitioned hundreds of individuals with disabilities from a facility-based model of employment toward jobs in the community. This was fueled by our belief that every person with a disability who wants to work in the community should have the option and the supports necessary to be successful in that work.
Last year, Goodwill introduced Project SEARCH, a new training program for youth with disabilities who are transitioning from school to work. The program began in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and, over the intervening 20 years, grew nationwide to over 300 sites. After receiving a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Goodwill aligned itself with several community partners including the Milwaukee County Zoo, local school districts, vocational rehabilitation services, long-term support organizations and Goodwill’s Supported Employment team. Eleven young adults learned employment and life skills, successfully graduating from an intensive nine-month training program.
Additionally, we continue to offer solutions for individuals who may find this transition to community employment particularly difficult. Solutions include more life skills training, career exploration or opportunities for exploring leisure and community activities through our Community Opportunities Clubs, Life Skills Development program, Community Access and Day Services programming.
In April of 2015, Goodwill completed its move into a new building in Greendale that formerly housed Reader’s Digest, to serve as our new headquarters. Our new facility provides a strong presence for Goodwill in the southern portion of Milwaukee County and allows our shared services to interact with the individuals we serve on a daily basis.
Store growth continued, and we opened five new stores during the first half of 2015, two in Wisconsin (Brookfield and Brown Deer) and three in Illinois (Addison, Aurora and Palatine). We met our goal of increasing same-store sales by 3.4% over the prior year, which is an enviable accomplishment given the flat or declining sales that most retailers are experiencing.
Community outreach remained a top priority, and we are excited to continue building partnerships throughout our entire 23-county region.
We are grateful for the leadership of our Board of Directors, the dedication of our staff and the support of many businesses, community leaders, foundations and government agencies whose hard work and commitment enable Goodwill to have a brighter future.