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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Goodwill Leadership Forum Advances The Power of Work

Strengthening Chicago’s Economic and Employment Outlook Through The Power of Work

In observance of Workforce Development Month this September, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago organized a dynamic and inspiring Workforce Development Leadership Forum in the heart of downtown Chicago. This inaugural forum was more than just a gathering; it was a testament to The Power of Work. We convened a network of community leaders to focus on the current regional economy and job market and the power of workforce development to help job seekers connect to essential resources and opportunities that fuel the growth of individuals, businesses and communities.


Focusing On Innovative Workforce Development Solutions

Goodwill’s Workforce Development Leadership Forum served as a vital platform for envisioning and catalyzing change as we work to illuminate a path forward. Community partnerships and innovative solutions play a critical role in building a more inclusive and vibrant Chicago. Our collective work continues around cultivating workplaces where every voice matters and supporting each individual’s needs within our communities. The dignity of work transforms lives as people in underserved populations are able to gain and retain self-sufficiency.


Event speakers included Goodwill leadership members alongside community leaders:

  • Jackie Hallberg, president and chief executive officer
  • Clayton Pryor, chief mission officer
  • Ayom Siengo, vice president, mission services
  • Suzanne Maldonado, vice president, TalentBridge and business development
  • David Oppedahl, policy advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Lisa Bly-Jones, Ed.D., chief executive officer, Chicago Jobs Council
  • Marisa Lewis, interim director of development, The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership
  • Ross Mayfield, investment strategist, Baird
  • Betsy Rahil, director of talent strategy, UChicago Medicine

Discussion topics covered insights around building a more inclusive and vibrant Chicago, such as:

  • Current trends and forecasts in the economy
  • Solutions that workforce development provides employers
  • Removing barriers for equitable employment access
“Our inaugural leadership forum was an excellent showcase of collaboration across agencies. Engaging with workforce development thought leaders on the challenges faced by our most vulnerable communities is crucial as we continue expanding our presence across our full territory. The global pandemic impacted our economy in unprecedented ways and the need for workforce development services is more pressing now than ever. Embracing technology is essential to close the digital divide and create inroads for individuals with multiple barriers to employment.”
Clayton Pryor, chief mission officer, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago
image7 Pictured from left to right: Ayom Siengo, Jackie Hallberg, Suzanne Maldonado, Betsy Rahil, Melisa Lewis, Lisa Bly-Jones, David Oppedahl, Ross Mayfield, Clayton Pryor
image8 Pictured from left to right: Bryn Reese, Board Member – James D. Borris, Clayton Pryor, Board Member – Bradley J. Kalscheur, Suzanne Maldonado, Ayom Siengo, Jackie Hallberg

Rallying Around The Power of Community Partnerships

Collaborative partnerships with community organizations and committed leaders are integral in driving our mission: Connecting people to work. Preparing people for life. The essence of our mission resonates through the stories, experiences and innovative strategies shared at this forum – highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts in enabling equitable access to opportunities.

"As Goodwill continues to establish ourselves as a partner focused on people and communities that experience barriers to personal and professional success, engaging in a learning environment with industry experts is vital. Hearing David Oppedahl discuss trends and forecasts for the economy laid the foundation for our panelists to discuss a wide range of topics affecting the expansive market that Goodwill impacts. Those within our territory with interest in establishing partnerships and supporting Goodwill services broaden our platform to advance employment the next 10 years and beyond."
Ayom Siengo, vice president mission services, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago

These opportunities empower individuals to thrive, businesses to flourish and communities to prosper. Our network of leaders and innovators were united by a shared vision of building a brighter future and uplifting those we serve through Goodwill’s services across workforce development, community services and youth engagement.


Highlighting Goodwill TalentBridge

A key highlight of the forum was on our staffing agency, TalentBridge, a valuable staffing development solution for both job seekers and employers, improving the communities we work and live in by reducing barriers to employment. TalentBridge brings over 90 years of experience in workforce development, providing solutions in multiple areas like professional search and placement. Services like TalentBridge empower individuals and employers through work, strengthening businesses and communities.

"Our event panelists excelled in highlighting the collaboration that is already happening in the workforce development space and what's needed in the future to ensure the most vulnerable populations are supported. I appreciated the conversation around engaging employer partners and solutioning together. It was inspiring to be part of meaningful conversation around the topic of preparing people for jobs that are evolving and addressing the digital divide, to ready people for the workforce of the future."
Suzanne Maldonado, vice president, TalentBridge and business development, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago

Shaping The Future Of Workforce Development

The overarching takeaway of the forum was one of collaboration and commitment to community development. Together, we explored innovative strategies, inspired change, and forged partnerships that will shape the future of workforce development.


As this year’s Workforce Development Month comes to a close, let this forum serve as a reminder of the potential that lies within the commitment workforce innovation and opportunity. Together, we are shaping a future where everyone has the opportunity to thrive through The Power of Work.

“The forum created an exciting convergence of thought leaders, policy makers, program providers and funding partners to explore new perspectives, together. When game-changing collaborations begin to emerge with foundations and corporations as equal partners in the conversation, impact happens.”
Bryn Reese-Klovens, vice president, philanthropy, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago

Interested in exploring partnership opportunities? Connect with us!

Tune In To The Discussion On October 18

A recording of the forum is scheduled to air Wednesday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. on CAN TV (Chicago Access Network Television) on cable channel 19 in Chicago, and can be streamed live on cantv.org and in the can tv+ app. CAN TV creates and produces public affairs programming addressing the concerns, interests, and cultures of the people of Chicago. Learn more about CAN TV here.

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