Goodwill Industries, Inc. (goodwillomaha.org) of Omaha announced August 21 that it was awarded a $15,000 one-year grant from United Way of the Midlands. The grant will allow Goodwill Omaha to invest in virtual learning technology and tools for its YouthBuild program, which provides educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16 to 24. YouthBuild gives disadvantaged youth who have struggled with school a second chance by providing them education, training, and a career path in construction.
Many of Goodwill Omaha’s YouthBuild students are underemployed or don’t have high-school diplomas. As program participants, the students also earn their general-education diplomas (GED’s) and receive leadership training and ongoing support from Goodwill’s teams. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for Goodwill Omaha’s Youthbuild students, most notably when the organization closed from March 23 to May 18. Trainers and case managers were challenged with keeping their students engaged and on track with their GED studies and testing at a time when the potential for recidivism increased significantly. With the help of this grant, YouthBuild is able to offer updated and extended virtual learning opportunities to students in situations when classroom learning isn’t possible.
Many people know of Goodwill Industries, Inc. as a place to donate used clothing and household items or find great bargains, but the mission at the heart of the organization is to provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages. For more information, visit goodwillomaha.org or call (402) 341-4609.