As COVID-19 displaced countless workers in the Charlotte region, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont created opportunities for unemployed and displaced individuals to learn new skills and embark on a new career path.
Goodwill quickly adapted its longstanding education programs to best serve its students. However, the organization needed additional funding to successfully transition its technology and construction program curriculum.
“We learned the importance of being agile, and how to quickly transition from in-person class to virtual learning so individuals working toward certification or receiving services would continue their journey uninterrupted,” Fund Development Director Julie Drinkhahn said.
The Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont received a Workforce Partners Support Grant from the City of Charlotte’s Open for Business initiative to give those affected by COVID-19 new opportunities.
“This grant helps increase capacity for technology and construction training programs by providing training scholarships for short-term programs that lead to industry-recognized credentials in high demand industries as well as provide paid work experiences and paid internships to graduates of specific Goodwill training courses,” Drinkhahn explained.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont utilized the grant funding to give training scholarships to seven participants enrolled in the organization’s Blueprint Reading & Estimation construction skills training course. Additionally, Goodwill paid participants $15 per hour to receive training.
“Often, individuals must choose between working and training because both tend to take place at the same time of day,” Drinkhahn said. “Because of this grant, individuals didn’t have to make a difficult decision that might delay their career growth. … It allows them to invest in their own development and not sacrifice income.”
The organization also provided paid work experiences in the construction industry to nine graduates. Additionally, 38 graduates of the fall cohort of Goodwill’s advanced IT Training programs received paid internships. With remaining funding, Goodwill also hired a contract position to help grow employer relationships.
“This grant is helping us determine how to best serve the community and meet their needs so they can have success in the future workforce,” Drinkhahn said.
The students of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont programs showed great appreciation for the organization’s ability to adapt during the global pandemic.
“What started as an apprenticeship turned into an opportunity of a lifetime,” Zantarious Bynum, who received a full-time employment offer after completing Goodwill’s construction training program, said. “It’s helped me get back in the groove of things and it’s helping me take better care of my son.” In the future, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont will continue providing training opportunities for residents interested in gaining employment in the construction and IT fields.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont received a Workforce Partners Support Grant from the City of Charlotte’s Open for Business initiative. Through the grant program, the City of Charlotte has awarded $3.5 million to workforce partners to provide programs for our community.