Day in and day out, the Goodwill West Texas team concentrates on helping people — their highest commodity. That includes the ones they’ve served and employed, as well as those who’ve donated to or shopped at a Goodwill store. (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill – West Texas)
When most of us think of Goodwill-West Texas, “things” are what usually come to mind first. We think about donating our used household goods and clothing, or we think about thrifting for secondhand items at a Goodwill retail store. But at the heart of its mission, Goodwill is really about people, by providing “opportunities to persons with barriers to employment” through job training and business services.
Day in and day out, the Goodwill West Texas team concentrates on helping people — their highest commodity. That includes the ones they’ve served and employed, as well as those who’ve donated to or shopped at a Goodwill store. Above all, Goodwill “empowers people, helps them fulfill their potential, improves the lives of their families and contributes to the growth of their community.” Goodwill hires local people, helps local people and gets by with the support of local people. They are your friends, your neighbors and your loved ones.
In the spirit of the holiday season, here’s a deeper look at the services provided to the West Texas community by Goodwill — and the work they do:
Goodwill is about offering a hand up — never a hand out — so that all individuals can experience the dignity and self-sufficiency that comes with steady employment. (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill – West Texas)
Most of their money goes right back to helping people here at home.
When you spend a dollar at any Goodwill retail store, 87 cents of it goes back into programs that support the mission of Goodwill-West Texas. (Of the remainder, 11 cents go to general and administrative costs, while 2 cents are used for fundraising.) Keep that in mind when you’re considering where to donate your gently used items — or where you shop to find deals for your family.
They help people with documented barriers secure employment.
Goodwill provides jobs and training to people in the community who have a strong desire to work but who face barriers that interfere with their ability to gain and maintain a job. Goodwill works with individuals to identify their obstacles then helps them deal with those challenges. Goodwill is about offering a hand up — never a hand out — so that all individuals can experience the dignity and self-sufficiency that comes with steady employment.
Their mission starts with their own team members.
Goodwill-West Texas employs over 300 people at 14 retail locations in 10 cities across 35 counties, and nearly 60% of their employees have a documented barrier. The Goodwill team works in collaboration with an extensive network of practical, thoughtful partners who provide assistance. Every year they continually strive to broaden their scope of job training and business services, in alignment with their core mission.
Goodwill-West Texas offers diverse career paths, with opportunities in administration, management, retail, groundskeeping and janitorial services. Working at Goodwill allows people to positively impact their community and see the Goodwill mission lived out on a daily basis.
They have three regional career centers.
Goodwill is committed to not only helping people find jobs — but to helping them keep those jobs, too. The Goodwill Career Centers in Abilene, San Angelo and Odessa offer one-on-one services to help individuals reach their employment goals. The services are completely free to anyone.
They include assistance with getting an ID, one-on-one career counseling, job-readiness skills training, resume writing, interviewing skills, job search assistance, computer access and training, soft skills training for youth, job placement and job retention training.
The Abilene Career Center is relatively new, having opened in 2017, and it helped over 300 people in the Big Country with their career goals during that first year alone.
Beyond the career centers, Goodwill offers on-the-job and work adjustment training, as well as digital skills courses for people with all levels of computer proficiency.
They help youth as well as adults.
Goodwill-West Texas offers a program called Youth Ahead that supports at-risk youth in the region. Working with local partners, Goodwill facilitates Youth Ahead classes and curriculum to provide employability and soft skills training. The goal of the program is to prepare youth to enter the workforce — serving them now so that they face fewer barriers in the future.
They have been around a long time.
Founded in 1983, Goodwill-West Texas is a private, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. It is affiliated with the national Goodwill Industries, which was founded in 1902 in Boston, by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and social innovator.
Helms was said to carry a burlap sack of used shoes, clothing and household items, to help people in need in his own neighborhood. He trained and hired people in need to mend and repair goods, then paid their wages from the profits made from selling the repaired goods at a weekly church bazaar. The Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.
Today, Goodwill focuses on offering job training and vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and disadvantages, so they can lead independent lives. They also collect donations from the communities they serve to provide employment in their production and retail areas. Every Goodwill shares a common philosophy of assisting people with disabilities or other critical needs in their efforts to work, but each Goodwill is autonomous, allowing the individual agencies to respond to the needs of their particular communities.
About Goodwill-West Texas
Goodwill-West Texas is a lot more than a place to donate used household goods and clothing. They are not “just a thrift store.” Goodwill is really about changing lives and fulfilling their mission. By donating your new or gently used items, shopping in their stores or donating to Goodwill directly, you are helping fulfill their mission!
By Stepfanie Romine
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