Goodwill Hawaii increases impact of employment services through Beyond Jobs program

Goodwill Industries of Hawaii has joined 45 Goodwill agencies across the country as a participant in the Beyond Jobs program, which provides job training and placement services to women statewide who are facing difficulty advancing their careers. The Beyond Jobs program is funded by a $7.7 million grant from the Walmart foundation, and helps low-income women who are unemployed or underemployed.

Goodwill Industries of Hawaii expects that the funding will enable the organizations to increase the impact of its employment services, which provide free job-training and placement services for Hawaii’s low-income and immigrant residents. Aside from the grant, funds come primarily from the state offices of Community Services and Hawaiian Affairs.

“We are very excited to be able to further assist the working women of Hawaii,” said Laura Smith, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Hawaii in a Feb. 15 statement. “Beyond Jobs leverages Goodwill’s holistic approach to job training, placement and family financial support services while providing additional support to help them achieve economic security and advance in their careers.”

The Beyond Jobs funding allows Goodwill to offset the financial barriers women face in achieving sustainable employment. In addition to job training, placement and retention services, the program also provides financial aid to be granted on a case-by-case basis for expenses such as transportation to job interviews or appropriate work clothing. Other services may include continued financial education, family strengthening services, early education and child care assistance, and connections to healthy food and nutrition initiatives.

“Over the 30-month grant period, Goodwill will work with women to provide them the tools to achieve their educational, career and financial goals,” stated the Goodwill press release. “Once participants are placed in jobs, they receive support to retain them, to further their education, and to advance in careers within their chosen industries.”

Employment and job availability remain a hot-button issue in the United States, but long-term unemployment is especially problematic, as the U.S. Department of Labor reports that only 26 percent of women who lost their jobs during the recession have regained them. As of last year, one in four women was still looking for work after more than a year of job hunting.

The Beyond Jobs program is part of Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, which aims to help 200,000 U.S. women from low-income households with workforce readiness through job training, education, career counseling, and mentoring. The program was started in 2010, serving 1,342 women and has expanded to serve an expected 12,250 women—enough to make me almost forget about controversy surrounding low wages, poor working conditions and imports from China.

In order to qualify for Goodwill’s programs, individuals must fall below the 150 percent federal poverty guideline, and although the Beyond Jobs grant focuses on women, placement services are provided for men as well. Anyone interested in employment services should contact Tasha Mahelona at 808-871-4143, ext 2300.

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Photo: National Archives/Wikimedia Commons