REPORT FROM GOODWILL — More help is on the way for women in Hawaii who are having difficulty advancing their careers. Goodwill Industries of Hawaii is one of 45 Goodwill agencies across the country to take part in an innovative program that provides job training and placement services to women.
The program, known as Beyond Jobs and funded by a $7.7 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, will help low-income women who are unemployed or underemployed. This new funding broadens the reach of the program that was started in 2010 in five U.S. markets serving 1,342 women, to serving an expected 12,250 women in 45 communities. The Beyond Jobs funding will enable Goodwill Industries of Hawaii to increase the impact of its employment services. These programs, funded by the State Offices of Community Services and Hawaiian Affairs, provide free job training and placement services for Hawaii’s low-income and immigrant residents. The Beyond Jobs funding provides additional assistance to the female participants in these programs, allowing Goodwill to offset the financial barriers these women face in achieving sustainable employment. For example, a woman could receive financial aid for transportation to job interviews, or to purchase appropriate clothing to wear.
“We are very excited to be able to further assist the working women of Hawaii,” said Laura Smith, President/CEO of Goodwill Industries of Hawaii. “Beyond Jobs leverages Goodwill’s holistic approach to job training, placement and family financial support services while providing additional support to help them achieve economic security and advance in their careers.”
Over the 30-month grant period, Goodwill will work with women to provide them the tools to achieve their educational, career and financial goals. Once participants are placed in jobs, they receive support to retain them, to further their education, and to advance in careers within their chosen industries.
Long-term unemployment among women remains a problem, both locally and nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 26 percent of the women who lost their jobs during the recession have regained them. Last year, more than one out of four women was still looking for work after more than a year of job hunting.
“Not only will this program help to place women, no matter their circumstances, in jobs, it will also give them everything they need to support themselves and their families, in the long term,” said Smith. “Beyond Jobs fulfills Goodwill’s mission of generating economic opportunities for people who face challenges to finding employment — in this case, women of all backgrounds — to achieve career advancement and financial independence.”
Among the tools provided by the Beyond Jobs program are continued financial education, family strengthening services, early education and child care assistance, and connections to healthy food and nutrition initiatives.
The Beyond Jobs program is a key element in Walmart achieving the goals of its Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, one of which is to help 200,000 U.S. women from low-income households with workforce readiness through job training, education, career counseling, and mentoring. For more information, visit corporate.walmart.com/women.
Goodwill Industries of Hawaii’s mission is to help people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.