Goodwill Industries of Michiana celebrated its newest group of graduates from its academy program at the La Porte Public Library on Friday, April 22.
“It's neat to be able to recognize those achievements because these are employment and training opportunities that will lead to living-wage jobs, and that's really the goal for Goodwill,” said Vice President for Community Engagement of Goodwill Industries Guy Fisher. “We're all about workforce development by getting people into what we like to call the most abundant living, and certifications like this just open the door for employment opportunities and changing the lives of individuals and families.”
This event’s graduates were recognized for their completion of a variety of programs including Facebook and Social Media Marketing, Google Project Management, Google IT Support, Certified Personal Trainer, and Customer Service and Sales. In the future, Fisher noted that they are working to add automotive training, welding, and CNC certifications as well.
GreatNews.Life Executive Director Jenny Craig-Brown was also present to give some words of encouragement to the graduates as the keynote speaker. She assured them their future is bright and that anything in life is possible as she spoke about her journey to becoming a successful businesswoman in the Region, spreading positive news, and is now in a career she truly loves.
Throughout their time at Goodwill, graduates were prepped with both hard training and digital skills to help them reach their goals of one day obtaining a career in their field of choice.
“It's not just the certification that they're receiving from going through the program,” Fisher said. “Checking the box off for the certificate is one of those things that we do, but it's really all the other life skill sets that we wrap around our students' soft skills. We want them to understand that if you want to take some steps ahead in the workforce, there are expectations and milestones that you need to make and meet. And then the certification is just the capstone for all upon that as well.”
Each program Goodwill offers thorough instruction to equip each student with all the necessary tools they will be using on the job. This includes teaching crucial skills that some may have not had the opportunity to learn growing up. In the field of construction, for example, using a tape measure is vital and quite a common occurrence. However, Fisher explained that while he and others learned the task as a kid from Dad and Grandpa, some were not as fortunate to have mentors growing up to teach them such skills. The Goodwill programs are designed to help teach basic skills such as this to its students and then expand upon the knowledge, immersing them fully into their future career fields.
“And now we have also branched this out and have grown it,” Fisher said. “The digital skills and certifications that our students are receiving in their IT security certifications, Facebook marketing certifications, they're all things that we're doing that can lead to getting jobs in that industry, and then being able to take steps ahead with your family.”
Through the programs at Goodwill, those enrolled will be able to learn those skills and more, building their confidence and making them more than prepared for a great career ahead.
The creation of the Goodwill academies stemmed from over 100 years ago when Methodist pastor Edgar Helms was looking to help his community. Through his observations, he saw that in addition to the basic needs such as food and shelter, people also had the innate desire to take care of themselves. However, with hurdles such as a lack of education in the way, it became quite the challenge for many to better their lives in the long run. Helms then made the decision to go to Boston to bring back people of many trades such as a cobbler or seamstress to show the people back home. From there, multiple opportunities for learning and for jobs were created, and the rest was history.
Fisher welcomes those interested in continuing their education to visit their website at goodwill-ni.org. From there, prospective students can select the link taking them to the academy’s page, where they can learn more about year-long class and course options. Classes are open to all, and Fisher encourages anyone considering attending to enroll to achieve their goals and make their dreams become a wonderful reality.