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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Goodwill Mental Health Program Provides Support Needed to Gain Meaningful Employment

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During the summer of 2019, Sam expressed an interest in getting back to work after joining the Goodwill Day Services Clubhouse program. Goodwill's Community Access (CA) staff stepped in, and by August, Sam began working with the CA group.

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When Markisha first came to Goodwill, she needed help finding work and decided to seek assistance from the Goodwill Workforce Connection Center (WCC) on Richards Street. Markisha used virtual recruitment sessions, remote resume assistance, remote job leads, and onsite recruitment events to help her get started on her employment journey.

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When Theodore started using Goodwill’s services, he worked two part-time jobs and would have to drop off his time sheets at two separate locations. Since it was a lot of travel time and gas, he started visiting the Goodwill Workforce Connection Center (WCC) on Richard Street to fax off his time sheets since it was convenient and saved him time and money. Theodore also used the WCC's computers and picked up monthly employment flyers so that he would not miss other career opportunities.

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When Rei first began working with Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Specialist, Erika Eykmans, she struggled academically and felt she had no direction at a UW system school a few hours outside of Milwaukee. Rei thought obtaining her bachelor’s degree was the only way to break the cycle of reliance on government services. Erika took her to the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) to pull program cards for every program offered. Rei looked through the options and narrowed it down to a few that brought her joy, with her first choice being website design. Erika then assisted her with transferring schools and notifying financial aid for the 2020 fall semester. They then set up an informational interview with the website designer at Goodwill, and at that moment, Rei was sold on her future career plans. “I found a purpose in design, and it has motivated me to continue working towards my long-term goals.” Through hard work, Rei increased her grade point average from 1.8 to 3.4 over her first year at MATC.

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After being released from incarceration, Shaylah transitioned into an outpatient substance use treatment program. Shaylah admits that while the program was okay, it was not a good fit for what she needed, which was to find employment, a top priority for her recovery and re-entry. Because of her record, Shaylah remembers struggling to find work. "Life was hectic when I first came to Goodwill's Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program. My background caused struggles with finding a job. Working with Goodwill provided me with a better opportunity. IPS provided the extra help that I needed.”

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The start of Nick’s EmpowerOne journey began in the fall of 2018. He first came to Goodwill with no work experience but had a goal of community employment. When asked what types of jobs he would be interested in, Nick talked about coding, nature photography, and being a Brewmaster for MillerCoors. Nick needed some guidance to determine what job would be a good fit for him and what skills he would need to acquire to be qualified for these roles. To gain experience Nick, toured various work sites, such as the Milwaukee School of Engineering Printing Department, the Goodwill Laundry and Linen Services facilities, and even Miller Brewing Company. He learned to consider his work environment, such as the noise and temperature when deciding if a job would be a good fit for him.  

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After serving time in the criminal justice system, Larry struggled to figure out his next steps towards leading a happy and productive life. He knew that finding a stable job with insurance benefits would be key to moving forward and supporting himself. By working with his care coordinator at Wisconsin Community Services, Larry was introduced to Goodwill’s Individual Placement and Support program which helps people with mental illness and/or substance use disorders find and keep jobs.

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Goodwill Wins Multiple Awards at Annual IPS Awards

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, several members of Goodwill’s Individual Placement and Support (IPS) team and one of Goodwill’s employer partners have been recognized for their achievements in helping people with mental health concerns better their lives through employment.

IPS is an international evidence-based program that helps people with mental illness and/or substance use disorders find and keep jobs. The program can also assist with educational goals that will lead to employment. Goodwill operates IPS services throughout Milwaukee County.

The IPS Awards are given out each year at the annual Wisconsin IPS Learning Collaborative Conference. Winners are nominated by their peers, supervisors and community partners.

Goodwill was recognized in the following categories:

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Jennifer started working with the Goodwill Workforce Connection Center (WCC) during her recovery from a severe and life-changing motorcycle accident.

At the WCC, staff members worked with Jennifer on her resume and interview skills and were impressed by her motivation in her job search.

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Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

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

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440