An Everyday Mission Supporting Everyday People
A Message from Michael Wirth-Davis,
President and CEO of Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota
Since 1919, Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota has helped eliminate barriers to work and independence. What does that actually mean in everyday life for everyday people?
As President and CEO, I see our mission at work every day. I often get asked, “So many businesses have hiring signage posted and cannot find workers. Why don’t people want to work; isn’t getting a job easy?”
My answer is people absolutely want to work. But not all job seekers have access to the same start line; here is context to consider:
- The digital divide. Digital literacy, including reliable internet access to apply for jobs, disproportionately impacts seniors, low-income individuals, rural communities, people with disabilities and non-native speakers. We partner with Literacy Minnesota to provide free, one-to-one digital skills tutoring at our computer lab in St. Paul. Read more.
- A past affects a future. Chris lost his barber’s license while incarcerated and accessed our Re-Entry services to get his license reinstated, find mentorship support and is now thriving back in the barber shop. Meet Chris.
- Navigating a disability. One in 4 adults in Minnesota, or 23% of our population, has a disability that can require public benefits planning, job support or workplace accommodations. Leone got support from our job placement program when she was laid off. Meet Leone.
- Youth need extra support. Dagme stopped going to high school to provide for his newborn daughter. Catching up and getting a diploma is challenging, but with a little support from our YouthBuild program he went a long way. Meet Dagme.
- Equitable workforce opportunities. There are thousands of driven, talented Minnesotans who are often overlooked for careers with family-sustaining wages. Our Employer Accelerator training uses data-driven tools to teach more equitable hiring processes and inclusive resume evaluation to Minnesota’s employers. Learn how.
Finally, every day we live our mission as an employer. I’m launching “I am Goodwill” employee profiles to shine a light on employees who embody our mission.
I am Goodwill. Polina is a Brooklyn Park Outlet Assistant Store Manager, working on a U.S. Humanitarian Visa from the Ukraine. She brought her experience managing a thrift store in the Ukraine to our organization as a new American.
“Goodwill gave me my first job in the United States. I can support my family back home in a safer environment. I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Polina said.
Employment is multi-faceted and it looks different for everyone. We see you. And we are here to help people who want to enter or advance in Minnesota’s workforce, every day.