Preparing people for work means “back-to-school” is every day, all year

By Michael Wirth-Davis, D.P.A., President & CEO As an organization whose mission is preparing people for work “back to school” occurs every day, all year long.

Preparing people for work means “back-to-school” is every day, all year

2015-09-10 15:14:00

It’s early September, and it seems like the messages I’ve seen and heard everywhere during the last few weeks have all had something to do with one thing: Back to School.

As an organization whose mission is preparing people for work, however, the “back to school” theme occurs every day, all year long. The education and training we provide to our participants is vital to preparing them not just to find work, but to be successful at their job once they start.

The relation between education and employment is clear. In 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, adults between the age of 25 and 64 who had not completed high school had an unemployment rate almost twice as high (10.6% to 5.8%) as those who had earned their high school diploma.

Here at Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota we see how difficult it can be to find work if you don’t have an education. In 2014 education was one of the most common barriers to work faced by our participants – 21% lacked a high school diploma or GED.

Whenever possible we work to provide our participants with the means to complete their education. In fact, one of the participant stories told to Congress recently by Boyd Brown, Goodwill-Easter Seals Area Director for Employment & Training, was about Elizabeth, who we worked with to help get her GED on her path out of homelessness.

We’re also excited to announce a new program that has added to our ability to provide education and career support. Our College & Career Navigation program is now available, at no cost, to those who are considering college. Anyone who has gone through the process of deciding to attend college knows how many options and choices need to be made. We’re happy that we will be able to offer the guidance that will help someone make the choices that will help them succeed in college and their career.

Frequently, however, it’s not formal education that prevents people from working. Often it’s that someone simply hasn’t learned the specific skills they need to do the job they want. In Rudy’s case, he was looking to start a new career, but needed to learn some new job skills to do so. Luckily, he happened to know someone at Goodwill-Easter Seals who let him know that we had a course that could help him change careers.

It is only thanks to the tremendous support we receive from our donors, staff, volunteers, business partners, and supporters that we are able to provide training and education to our participants. Thank you for your generosity and the effort you give to ensure that our participants are able to go back to school and prepare for work.