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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Nelly | Supporting career paths for teens & young adults

Goodwill’s Empower Youth program provides youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 from the Chicagoland area with job readiness training, skill building and support to prepare for and find their next job.


For Nelly Melgoza, the program is about creating opportunity. She joined Goodwill in 2023 as an Empower Youth case manager to empower Illinois youth and young adults in realizing their potential, overcoming challenges, and to become a trusted mentor throughout the job process.

Nelly is bringing her passion and dedication into her new role as program manager where she is focused on connecting youth and young adults to Empower Youth and building partnerships so more communities can access the program.

“Youth and young adults are the future, and I want to make sure that no one gets left behind, that their needs and voices are heard, and that they know they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to, especially in their education.”

Building A Foundation For Success

Q: What does it mean to you to be in this role helping youth and young adults map a pathway to a fulfilling future?

Nelly: It means a lot. It is a responsibility to provide the tools that each individual needs to become financially stable and self-sufficient. Getting to know each youth and young adult, their needs, challenges and to gain their trust is important to their success.

Q: What is most important to you as an Empower Youth program manager?

Nelly: Making sure that I transform lives by giving each youth and young adult the correct support for a prosperous future, ensuring they have reliable employment, and gain experience to advance their careers. Growing up in Chicago, I am familiar with the challenges youth and young adults face and can provide solutions unique to them.

Q: What impact did you witness this program have on youth and young adults?


Empower Youth is a great program that provides life skills training, one-on-one coaching and an individualized plan to target needs and challenges. The program helps first-time job seekers gain trust in themselves, build a resume and bring out their qualities and skills. Youth and young adults with prior work experience have learned to trust their skills and become better job seekers.

Learn More or Apply To Empower Youth

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440