Goodwill’s mission is to provide training, employment, and supportive services to individuals with disabilities or disadvantages who seek greater independence. For many, a job is that independence; providing purpose in addition to a paycheck.
With all the great work going on in this area, we were honored to receive the State of Wisconsin Governor’s Service Recognition Award on June 4, co-sponsored by Serve Wisconsin, and the Corporation for National and Community Service State Office. We won the Governor’s Disability Inclusion award, which goes to an AmeriCorps State or National Direct Program that has demonstrated commitment to inclusive programming, including outreach and support of members with disabilities. Susan Logsdon, Senior Tax Specialist with the IRS, noted that the Goodwill AmeriCorps team has nearly doubled the number of tax clients served through the VITA tax program since starting at Goodwill in 2012. They have found that as people find employment, learn to manage their income and learn the value of saving and building credit, they are able to move to greater levels of independence.
Goodwill is able to help individuals in all of these areas through financial empowerment, volunteer income tax assistance, financial wellness and benefits counseling services. Today, let’s focus on financial empowerment:
As it relates to the paycheck, we have found many individuals do not have a basic understanding of personal finance and struggle with debt, adding to the challenge of keeping their job. To address this need, we have built a strong set of services we call Financial Empowerment. We help individuals learn basic personal finance, create short and long term financial goals, and provide access to tools to that assists them on path to financial stability.
We provide basic education on banking, budgeting, and credit as a core component of our Work and Life Skills (which is the predecessor for the technical training within our Culinary Institute, Custodial Institute, and Retail Institute). Individuals establish financial goals, take the first steps to open a savings account, and understand how to manage their credit. In 2014, we were part of a national study on financial education best practices with about 80 Goodwill participants. The study results show outcomes are best achieved when financial education is integrated as a component of job training programs, and also where longer term relationships are formed through consistent touch points with individuals.
To learn more about our Financial Empowerment services, contact me at email@example.com. Stay tuned next month, as I highlight our other financial services: volunteer income tax assistance, financial wellness and benefits counseling.
Photo: Service award recipients, including our Goodwill AmeriCorps team, with Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch