Goodwill training helps needy Burien residents get, keep jobs, Council told 1by Jack Mayne Training people in need to get and keep a job is a major focus of the Burien office for Seattle Goodwill and its work is constrained only by the size of its local facility, the Burien City Council study session was told Monday night (Oct. 26). Janice Rapier, jobs training and education director at Seattle Goodwill Job Training Center, and Betsy McFeely, director of community relations, told the Council’s monthly study session that its store at 1031 SW 128th Street, is one of 10 education training centers in the Seattle Goodwill network. Keeping the job McFeely said the mission is to provide “quality, effective employment training and basic education to low income individuals and those with significant barriers to economic opportunity.” Goodwill’s job training mission is helping people become job ready, she said, as well as providing classes and “improving behaviors that lead to success,” along with “comprehensive employment services” and “offering excellent instruction in a variety of topics directly related to successful employment.” “Sometimes people get the job but have a hard time keeping the job because of some of those behaviors, working as part of a team, working with a supervisor, being on time, those sorts of behaviors,” McFeely said. Goodwill realized that some help for people’s “challenges in their personal life, to help them stabilize their home lives,” so they can focus on learning and “stay focused on the employment.” Small site helps 789Goodwill training helps needy Burien residents get, keep jobs, Council told 2 Rapier, the job training director, said the “Burien job training site is a small one located inside the store at 128th and Ambaum,” where they have two classrooms and a computer lab. That facility has classes in computer usage, English classes, basic skills and job training classes with placement help, including help with a resume and on-line job applications. Even with the small facility, the Burien location served 789 students in the current fiscal year, and placed 105 students at jobs paying $11.38 an hour, Rapier said. Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz said she had heard that Goodwill pays “its staff with disabilities a sub-minimum wage as low as even 22-cents an hour. I am wondering if that is true?” McFeely said Goodwill has not and does not use the sub-minimum wage. “All of our employees are paid at least minimum wage if not higher. Our Seattle Goodwill has not used (the sub-minimum wage) and never has used it.” Goodwill organizations nationally are separately incorporated, so such a wage could be used elsewhere, McFeely said. The only thing that keeps the Burien facility small is capacity, said Rapier. They have a big demand for evening classes but the size means they can offer only English and computer classes. McFeely said Goodwill is looking for more ways to partner and to work with cities, and that they have met with Mayor Lucy Krakowiak and City Manager Kamuron Gurol. “There may be more ways that we can help you and vice-versa,” she told the Councilmembers. Councilmember Bob Edgar asked it there was any plans to increase the size of the Burien facility. “We are always looking for new spaces that are still close to the store,” said Rapier. Goodwill training helps needy Burien residents get, keep jobs, Council told 3Immigrants and women Burien students working with Goodwill include 66 percent women, 58 percent immigrants and refugees, and 46 percent with less than high school education. In addition, only 4 percent of the students are homeless, 13 percent have disabilities and 9 percent are ex-offenders. Rapier said they see more family members in Burien, with the largest group being Hispanic and Latino “probably about 50 percent of all the local students.” Next largest ethnic group are African émigrés and African Americans at 18 percent and then Asians at 11 percent, followed by Caucasians at 11 percent, with other ethnic groups a smaller percentage. About 66 percent of the people that come into Goodwill are unemployed, she said, and 62 percent are looking for work. Those working full time comprise 17 percent and those working part time are 15 percent. When potential students come to Goodwill, Rapier said many need assistance before they can work on training. She said 31 percent need help with transportation, 27 percent have dental problems and 18 percent need housing assistance. Only about 9 percent of those coming to the Burien facility need help with getting food. “Transportation is something I am really happy that Goodwill is committed to; we are able to provide bus tickets to our students every day,” Rapier said. “That is a big cost for us but it has really increased the retention in our programs.” Help for housing Councilmember Gerald Robison asked what Goodwill does for those people with needs for housing. Rapier said they work with partners who work with housing needs and the Burien office has a small fund “that has grown over the years, and that fund is available for students who need financial assistance with rent … and just about anything.” Robison asked if they had specific programs to prevent homelessness. “Not really,” Rapier said. The way Goodwill addresses homelessness is “we provide opportunity for our students to set goals and understand the step they need to go wherever they are trying to get to in terms of their goals.” If they can help find a place to live, they do that but their goal is the preparation of “getting the job and maintaining the job.” But Rapier said Goodwill had had “a lot of successes with students getting permanent housing.” After dental problems, the next major health problem is eyeglasses, she said. “Being able to send students to get glasses is really important to us.” The major reasons students come to Burien Goodwill is to find a job or a better job (57 percent) and to learn English (48 percent). Learning about computers and getting a high school diploma or a GED are also major reasons. Rapier said Goodwill partners with the Burien library and with the Highline School District where they go to schools to “provide job readiness services” and an alternate GED program. Profits for education McFeely said Goodwill collects donated items then uses the profits from sales to operate its stores and educational operations. Items that can’t be resold in its stores or used by Goodwill are disposed in a way to “keep them out of the landfill,” said McFeely, adding that last year “we sold more than 66.2 million pounds of unusable goods to support our non-profit mission.” It also “recycled 8.21 million pounds of electronic waste.” She told the Council they had Goodwill Donation Bins available for locations in public areas. “The bins have an electronic sensor that tells the organization when the bin needs to be emptied.” She seemed to hint that a good bin location would be at the City Hall and library.]]>