Goodwill Advocates Urge Congress to Invest in Job Training

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Goodwill Holds Annual Advocacy Day on April 12

"At Goodwill, we know firsthand just how much of a difference job training programs can make in putting individuals back to work and growing our economy," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.

More than 175 representatives from Goodwill® including CEOs, workforce professionals, volunteer board members, and program participants will gather on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, April 12 to urge Congress to secure the country’s economic recovery by preserving and expanding federal job training programs.

Goodwill intends to engage policymakers in support of funding for critical job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs that Goodwill provides through agencies across the country.

“The recession may technically be over, but it doesn’t feel that way for most American families,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Millions of people are eager to return to the workforce and are desperate for job training and career support. At Goodwill, we know firsthand just how much of a difference job training programs can make in putting individuals back to work and growing our economy.”

High-priority topics for Goodwill and the people it serves include:

Consumer Product Safety:
Goodwill® urges Congress to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) to protect nonprofit organizations that sell donated goods. Resellers are not required to test products for lead; however, they are prohibited from reselling used products that do not meet the law’s new lead standards. Goodwill is ready to work with Congress and the administration to craft a bipartisan bill that includes common-sense exemptions that will allow nonprofit organizations to continue their work. A bill is being developed by the House Commerce Committee and it is likely that it will include an exemption for used products that have been donated to the seller for charitable distribution or sale to support charitable purposes. Goodwill urges the Senate to write a companion bill to the House bill.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Reauthorization: Goodwill is calling on Congress to pass a substantial reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, a key form of employment assistance for families in need. TANF is not just about handing out financial aid; it also allows states to work with community-based organizations such as Goodwill to provide career programs designed to promote self-sufficiency and aimed to help people find jobs and move up the career ladder. Since the inception of the TANF program, Goodwill has provided more than 1.5 million TANF recipients across the United States with pre- and post-employment services. As American families continue to struggle, these programs are needed now more than ever. TANF authorization is set to expire in September 2011, and Goodwill urges Congress to pass a substantial reauthorization during this session.

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Reauthorization: The Workforce Investment Act was designed to create a universal system of one-stop career centers that provide access to training and employment services for the individuals who need them most, including adults and youth with low incomes, workers who are dislocated, and people with disabilities. Last year, more than 120,000 people were referred to Goodwill for employment services through WIA and vocational rehabilitation services. However, the budget proposed by the House of Representatives would decrease funding for WIA grants, even though funding for training is already spread desperately thin at local Goodwill agencies. Goodwill urges the president and Congress to fully fund employment training programs provided through WIA.

Goodwill stakeholders will advocate for Congress to preserve funding for the job training and employment services programs provided under WIA, TANF and other programs such as youth mentoring and the Senior Community Service Program. Youth and older workers are two of the fasting growing demographic of individuals which are served by Goodwill agencies across the country. Preserving these programs will give millions of Americans the tools they need to find employment, achieve economic self-sufficiency and help put our economy back on the right track.

ABOUT GOODWILL INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 165 community-based, independent agencies in the United States, Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of the nation’s top five most valuable and recognized nonprofit brands as well as a leading social services enterprise (Source: Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, 2009). Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,500 retail stores and online at http://www.shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation and document imaging and shredding. In 2010, 2.5 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 84 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find your local Goodwill, use the online locator at http://www.goodwill.org or call (800) 741-0186.

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Lauren Lawson-Zilai
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