Monday, August 28th marked the occasion of an event hosted by the Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries in partnership with Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley known as the “All For Ohio Tour.” The tour of Dayton Goodwill and subsequent meeting was being held in cooperation with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Legislators from the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives including Senator Bob Hackett, Senator Bill Beagle along with Representatives Niraj Antani, Jim Butler and Jeff Rezabek.
The comprehensive tour of the Dayton Goodwill Service Center which showcased the Senior Community Employment Job Club; Miami Valley Works and Specialized Services was followed by a roundtable discussion of workforce issues. Specifically, discussion focused on the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation’s quarterly survey of business leaders and helping to meet their workforce needs. The top barriers identified by employers when hiring employees was a lack of “strong work ethic, experience and skills.” A general overview of Goodwill programs and services was then provided which focused on the individuals served and the outcome measures of Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries partners.
Legislators and Chamber representatives learned that more than 77,000 Ohioans are served by Goodwill organizations in Ohio’s 88 counties. Ohio Goodwills provided 695,204 instances of employment-related services and 4,278 were helped to obtain jobs in 2016. 7,676 Ohioans are employed through Goodwill’s social enterprises and collectively, Goodwill organizations contribute $14 million in Ohio employment and sales tax. Roundtable discussion points focused on the existing barriers to success for people seeking employment and what the state could be doing to incentivize work experience, education and training as well as supporting critical state programs with Vocational Rehabilitation.
Attendees were then introduced to Dayton Goodwill team member, Mikia Black, and watched a video of her personal success story. Having sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of car accident and surviving a coma, Mikia worked through extensive rehabilitation to regain her ability to function and to try to re-enter the workforce. With two young children to care for, Mikia was desperate to get back to work. She described the barriers she had to transcend bureaucratically as well as emotionally in her journey to employment. Fortunately, Goodwill offered her the support that she needed to enhance her work-related skills and ultimately, she was offered a staff position at the Dayton Goodwill organization.
Key points made to the legislators in attendance were to support workforce programs that support people in succeeding as well as charitable donations which are the lifeblood of organizations like Goodwill.
Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Legislative Liaison, Sharon Hannon, was pleased to be included in the meeting and shared an overview of the organization’s successful placement outcomes locally and highlights of its recent Summer Youth program as well as on-going focus on workforce development issues in partnership with the Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries. Emily Turner, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Goodwill’s highlighted the important opportunities to work collaboratively with the Chamber (and the employers they represent), Goodwill organizations and legislators to address the workforce development issues of Ohio communities.
The Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries (OAGI) and its partner organizations are committed to working towards meeting the workforce development needs of Ohio employers and the individuals they serve and look forward to legislative help in achieving this important state-wide goal.