Seattle Goodwill committed to making future employees primed for work

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
April 12, 2017
 

Ellena Burke knew she needed to make a change. She had severed relationships and was dealing with a drug and alcohol addiction.

In order to get her life on track, Ellena needed a job and sought out Goodwill for help. After committing to sobriety she joined Goodwill’s Cashiering and Customer Service Program, which helped her develop invaluable soft skills needed to become a productive, successful employee.

“At Seattle Goodwill, I learned how to be assertive without being aggressive and how not to deal with things in a negative manner,” Ellena said. “I gained humility and how to keep my composure.”

Learning how to process adversity in a healthy manner, being assertive without being aggressive, having humility: those are all soft skills, which in today’s business world frequently get passed over in favor of technical skills.

But in all actuality 85 percent of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills, while the remaining 15 percent comes from savvy technical skills. Seventy-five percent of employers rate soft skills as more important than technical skills.

Seattle Goodwill through years of working with the hardest-to-serve communities—such as people suffering from mental illness and those new to the country searching for work—has identified the largest barriers obstructing those looking to find and maintain a job.

Soft skills such as integrity, responsibility, perseverance, work ethic and good communication, to name a few, are essential traits desired in the workforce. Particularly in the entry-level workforce, many job seekers lack these skills, and it’s a major underlying cause of unemployment.

So what does job success look like for those who are unemployed and facing barriers to better economic opportunity?

Success in the workplace is built off three pillars—soft skills, mentoring and guidance and overcoming logistical challenges.

When all three of these pillars are achieved, we consider prospective employees primed for work. At Seattle Goodwill, our programs seek to build our students’ soft skills. We connect students to mentors who can offer guidance, and we also offer resources to help students overcome logistical barriers.

Seattle Goodwill on a daily basis witnesses the impressive personal and professional growth that comes along with getting students primed for work. As part of our advocacy efforts, we have created a five-step action plan showing how you can help contribute to our community and help others become primed for work.

1) Ask what your organization is already doing, and then ask how you can help

Work with your HR professionals if you’re an organization leader to see how they are coping with the lack of entry-level employees being primed for work. See if there are places where you can provide more of the basic soft-skill knowledge to employees. See if you are hiring and training based on strong soft skills. Work with management to support entry-level workers.

2) Actively support the good work of others

Beyond Seattle Goodwill there are organizations such as Seattle Jobs Initiative, Venture, Seattle Colleges and The Prosperity Agenda that are placing an emphasis on training for soft skills and lobbying for more attention to be given to these barriers to employment and success. Find an organization committed to helping people be primed for work and support them.

3) Define what primed for work means at your organization and start measuring it

Promote ways to measure being primed for work. There are questionnaires and assessments that measure confidence, self-esteem and motivation. Lobby for their adoption, so these characteristics become key performance indicators for a company’s health.

4) Raise the issue, and talk about primed for work

Use your voice to increase awareness of the need to reduce the primed for work gap. Talk to you peers and colleagues about the importance of being primed for work.

5) Support legislation

Primed for work doesn’t only mean soft skills. It also means the non-tangible challenges that directly impact an employee’s ability to thrive. Legislation in support of primed for work could mean funding for soft skills training in high school nonprofits and community colleges, making transportation access more affordable, having affordable child care, etc.

Seattle Goodwill is committed to helping those facing barriers become primed for work. Please help us spread the word and share your ideas, thoughts and solutions with us. 

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Earth Day Giveaways

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
April 10, 2017
 

It’s time for our annual Earth Day giveaways! From April 10 – 21, Monday – Friday, we’ll be giving away over $2,500 in local prizes. Many of the prizes were generously donated by local businesses and organizations who believe in being eco-friendly and sustainable. 

Once you've checked out our prize list, be sure to check out some of the other ways we're celebrating Earth Day 2017—such as our Sustainable Sounds concert with KEXP and our Online Vintage Sale! Learn more here. 

Earth Day 2017 Giveaways Grand Prizes

GRAND PRIZE DRAWING

Click here to enter for the grand prize drawing. Entry is open April 10 – 23. Three winners will be selected and notified via email on April 24.

LADY GAGA
Two tickets to see Lady Gaga perform at the Tacoma Dome on August 5, 2017
SOUNDERS FC PACKAGE
Four tickets to a Sounders FC match, and a $100 gift card to the Pro Shop
SEATTLE REPERTORY THEATER NIGHT OUT
A $250 gift card to the Seattle Repertory Theatre, and a $50 gift card to Local 360


 

DAILY GIVEAWAYS
Daily giveaways happen on our Facebook page. 

Monday, April 10: For the Family
A $25 Gift Certificate to Manzanita Kids, a Super Swoop Bag, and $50 gift cards to Trophy Cupcakes and Mighty-O Donuts

Tuesday, April 22: Ballard Love
2 tickets to Sustainable Sounds on April 20, a pair of earrings and necklace from Baleen, a $50 gift card to Skillet, and a Mustard & Co. gift package, Nube9 Earth Day t-shirt

Wednesday, April 23: Retail Therapy Day
A $200 gift certificate to Karan Dannenberg’s store, and $50 gift cards to Carmine Signature Group restaurants and Gene Juarez Salon

Thursday, April 24: Seattle Opera
2 tickets to see Seattle Opera perform “The Magic Flute”, courtesy of City Arts Magazine

Friday, April 25: Date Night x 3 (three winners)
2 tickets to the GeekWire Awards on May 4, 2017
- or -
2 tickets to see Lionel Richie perform with Mariah Carey on September 5
- or -
2 tickets to BECU’s ZooTunes at Woodland Park Zoo for Pat Benetar, Neil Geraldo, and Rick Springfield on August 15

Monday, April 17: Sustainable (Sounds)
2 tickets to Sustainble Sounds on April 20, a $50 gift card to No Bones Beach Club, a pair of Girlfriend Collective Leggings, and a Metamorphic Gear Quartz Dopp Kit

Tuesday, April 18: Snack Local
An 8 Pound Colossal Cut of Beecher’s Flagship Cheese, a Mustard & Co. gift package, and an array of goodies from Erin Baker’s

Wednesday, April 19: Up Your Style
A wardrobe audit from Cuniform, a $50 gift certificate to shop Moorea Seal’s store, and an autographed copy of Moorea Seal’s 52 Lists for Happiness

Thursday, April 20: Upcycled Fashion
A Nube9 package including a tank top, reversible bucket hat, and an Earth Day t-shirt, and a Metamorphic Gear tote

Friday, April 21: Family Baseball
4 tickets to a Seattle Mariners game, and 4 tickets to any regular season game of the Bellingham Bells

Thank you for celebrating Earth Day with us! Don't forget to drop off your donations and #BreakUp4Good with your stuff. Last year we kept over 53 million pounds out of landfills thanks to generous donors like you. 

Find a Goodwill Donation Site | Donation Guidelines | Cleaning & Organizing Tips

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Celebrate Earth Month with Seattle Goodwill

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
April 7, 2017
 

At Seattle Goodwill, we deeply value sustainability. We partner with local organization and programs like Threadcycle and eCycle Washington to ensure donations we can’t sell are properly recycled. We use SmartBins and have a LEED Gold Certified Administrative Services building. Last year, thanks to generous donors and shoppers, we kept over 53 million pounds out of landfills.

So—when Earth Day rolls around—we like to celebrate… for weeks. This year we have donation drives, a concert, an online vintage sale, and two weeks of daily giveaways to celebrate. All month long, we’re inviting you to join with our community, and #BreakUp4Good with the… stuff… you don’t need anymore.

Check out what’s coming up, and tune into our Facebook page for updated information:

Uber + Goodwill Donation Drive

UBER DONATION DRIVE: Saturday, April 8, 10 am – 4 pm
If you live in Uber Seattle’s footprint, from 10 am – 4 pm this Saturday, you can request a donation pickup in your Uber app. It is 100% free of charge—you just pack up your clothing donations, request it on the app, and meet the driver at the curb. Click here for full details.

EARTH DAY GIVEAWAYS: April 10 – 21, Monday – Friday
Seattle is full of awesome, local, companies, organizations, and restaurants—and we’ve partnered with some of them to bring you two weeks of seriously awesome giveaways. Check back on our blog on Monday for a full list and schedule of giveaways—and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Pssst. We won’t tell you the whole prize list yet, but we will tell you that it may or may not involve tickets to go see Lady Gaga when she comes to town. And the Sounders. And donuts. And awesome, locally and sustainably produced things from local businesses.)

ONLINE VINTAGE SALE: April 11 – 21, Online Only
Did you know that Seattle Goodwill sells online? About 3% of our total donations go to our online stores—and that includes some vintage jewelry, clothing, and accessories. From April 11 – 21, we’ll be celebrating upcycling & sustainability with an online sale, including discounts of 25 – 50% on select vintage items. Check back regularly! New items get listed each day of the sale. http://bit.ly/shopSGWonline

Sustainable Sounds: #BreakUp4GoodSUSTAINABLE SOUNDS with KEXP: April 20, 8 pm
Join us and KEXP on Thursday, April 20 at Tractor Tavern for a night of breakup songs, celebrating our #BreakUp4Good campaign. Proceeds support our local, free job training and education programs. Local acts CataldoSISTERSGoodbye HeartAcapulco Lips, and Prom Queen will be performing. Get your tickets here: http://bit.ly/2n2n3xA

We are SO excited to celebrate Earth Day with you! Here are some resources to help you #BreakUp4Good this month:

Find a Goodwill Donation Site | Donation Guidelines | Cleaning & Organizing Tips

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Goodwill Faces: George, Randy, Rocio, Susan

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
March 31, 2017
 

Catch up on Goodwill Faces with the four stories below. Tune into our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series!

George grew up in eastern Washington as a first generation American and throughout his life developed a passion for helping others. He attended Gonzaga University—a Jesuit institution that promotes service to others—and after graduation joined the military as a United States Army officer. He gained invaluable leadership skills during four years or service, which included a deployment to Iraq. George moved to Seattle after leaving the military and connected with Goodwill through a veterans hiring event. He learned about Goodwill’s mission, and instantly knew his beliefs aligned perfectly. After starting out as a case manager, George began instructing Goodwill’s Retail and Customer Service class and now works as Retail Programs Operations Manager, strengthening relationships with Goodwill’s partners and developing ways to improve the programs he oversees.

“You get to see students in the environment that Goodwill offers, which is a safe and welcoming space. But one’s perspective broadens through the relationship that is built and the work that we do because you realize that for some that safe and welcoming space can end once they step out of the classroom and away from Goodwill … you realize that some students don’t have a place to rest, don’t have a place to call their own. Some don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and some may be going somewhere they may not necessarily want to be. Yet for all that they are carrying as an individual, their persistence and determination to improve remains, and it is awe-inspiring. Things we take for granted, they do without, and regardless they’re set in making their change happen. I’m honored to work alongside a team and organization that will offer that hand-up in education and support services to thse inspiring individuals, letting them know that we are here to support them."

-George


 

Randy, who serves as Goodwill’s director of transportation and after market sales, has been an integral piece in the birth of Goodwill’s highly successful Industrial Vehicles Program—a 12-week session with the end goal of having students earn their commercial driver’s license. He’s paramount to Goodwill’s daily operations, has established a long track record of limiting liability and takes great pride in positively affecting change in the lives of the students who’ve come through Goodwill’s programs and now work in his department.

“What’s most rewarding I think is just the conversations with my employees. My whole thing is getting down and knowing what makes them tick, how we can help them, how they can help us. I mean it truly is a two-way street. I manage the warehouses, and we hire from the re-entry program, so we get some of the more hardened guys. A lot of those guys have just been put in the wrong spot at the wrong time. They all have good hearts. They all want to do the right things, and you can especially tell when you talk about their family. Being able to talk to them and get that smile… They don’t even have to say it. You feel that thank you. People don’t always articulate, so to be able to see the joy and benefit of what having a job means to their lives, it’s just as rewarding to me as anything. On the surface it seems like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m doing all this for everybody else,’ but guess what? When I got home at night, I’m taking some of that joy home with me.”

-Randy


 

Rocio, a single mother, left her home in Mexico City 23 years ago with her two daughters after the business she worked for closed due to a struggling Mexican economy. She settled in Bremerton, where she had family. Speaking limited English, Rocio tried several times to learn but never found the necessary time to master the language. Two years ago Rocio came to Seattle Goodwill’s Bremerton Job Training and Education Center, where she’s taken English for Speakers of Other Languages classes, Adult Basic Education, Computer Basics and is now working toward obtaining her GED. Rocio, who has a chronic injury that affects her ability to work following a car accident 15 years ago, has taken advantage of Goodwill’s support services for students. She’s received gas cards for her long commutes to work, has obtained prescription glasses with Goodwill’s help and also received help finding housing. Her English has drastically improved, and she is becoming more confident in using her English speaking skills to complete daily tasks.

“Right now I have many things to do. And to do many things you need English. Before I would ask my daughters or somebody for help. Now, no. My goal is to be a teacher, an art teacher because I love to draw. To become a teacher, I need to get my GED. When you draw you get to put outside what you feel, what you think. I want to help kids express what they are feeling. That is my goal. A long time ago people told me, ‘Ask for help, ask for help, because you will hurt yourself more (if you don’t).’ Now I am living and getting support in many ways, and I feel like I am dreaming. We have very good teachers, and they help all the time. I can’t believe it. Of course, I am very grateful. That for me motivates me to do the best that I can do. That is my feeling to say thank you. We have everything here that we need to study. I can’t say anything about, we need, because they help with everything.”

-Rocio


 

Susan taught high school science in Missouri for seven years before moving to western Washington in 2012. She already had a bachelor’s degree in teaching but needed to pass a new test in order to earn her certification in Washington state. Susan’s plan was to save up and take the test, but in the meantime discovered Seattle Goodwill and found an open instructor position at Marysville’s Job Training and Education Center. She was hired as a computer instructor, and that role quickly grew into teaching just about every class offered at the center. Susan became the South Everett Job Training and Education Center Manager in 2013, and through her nearly five years working at Goodwill has discovered teaching adults is her true passion. Her favorite class is at the Monroe Correctional Complex, where she works with inmates on building their resume, writing cover letters, teaching how to talk to future employers about conviction history and even sets up mock interviews to help them find work upon release. 

“I use to say I wanted to teach high school because I wanted the last chance to make a difference in somebody’s life. But what I realized shortly after working for Goodwill is that (high school) is not the last chance, because there are still so many people that need someone to help and make a difference in their life. We get a lot of individuals who are at that point where their life just drastically changed. So what’s so amazing about Goodwill is not only do we provide the education classes to help, but in addition we support (our students), which is so amazing. Goodwill helps students get what they need and then goes one step further with assisting them with (resources like) dental, and vision or if they are having trouble paying their utility bill. So we really try to meet that base level of the pyramid, so our students can focus on education and then bettering themselves.”

-Susan

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Five Kid-Friendly St. Paddy’s Day Crafts

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
March 14, 2017
 

5 Kid-Friendly St. Patrick's Day CraftsSaint Patrick’s Day originates from the traditional death date of the patron saint of Ireland on March 17, 461. For nearly 1200 years, he was largely forgotten—but then on March 17, 1631 St. Patrick’s Day was declared a feast day by the church in Ireland. In 1762, the first St. Paddy’s Day parade was held in New York City—and in 1798, green became the official color for the day. It was declared a public holiday in Ireland in 1903.

In the last 114 years, St. Patrick’s Day has become a globally celebrated holiday with annual parades and festivities on six continents—and even in outer space on the International Space Station in 2015.

Last year for the holiday, we shared some of our favorite Irish recipes with you—this year? We’re getting crafty with some good-for-kids DIY projects.

Here are five simple craft projects for your little ones to do for Saint Patrick’s Day:

Coffee Filter Shamrocks - We Know Stuff

Coffee Filter Shamrocksvia We Know Stuf
This was one of my favorites as a kid—and I was glad to find this beautiful DIY blog that summarizes the craft exactly as I remember it! All you need is circular coffee filters, green pipe cleaners, water, and green food dye—and they make an excellent decoration!

Shrinky Dink Lucky Charms – via The Tiny FunnelShrinky Dink Lucky Charmsvia The Tiny Funnel
Who remembers Shrinky Dinks from their childhood? They’re extremely easy to replicate with some #6 recycled plastic, sharpies, and an oven! The Tiny Funnel does a great job of summarizing how easy the project is—and you can make charms in any shape and color! From shamrocks to rainbows, this one is great for any age that can hold a marker! (With parental help, of course.)

Rainbow Glitter Shoes – via The Swell DesignerRainbow Glitter Shoesvia The Swell Designer
Add some color to your St. Patrick’s Day outfit with a pair of rainbow glitter shoes! You can find craft supplies—as well as a pair of shoes in your size—at Goodwill. Be sure to start this one a day or two in advance, so they have time to dry before wearing them.

Mini Pot o’ Gold Party Favor – via Make and TakesMini Pot o’ Gold Party Favorvia Make and Takes
Does your little one have a class St. Patrick’s Day party? Here’s a great little party gift that can start with some easily thrifted terra cotta pots and craft supplies, and are easy for little hands to help assemble.

Eraser-Stamped St. Patrick’s Day Shirt – via Cutesy Crafts Eraser-Stamped St. Patrick’s Day Shirtvia Cutesy Crafts
This craft is easy, quick, and ensures no one gets pinched on St. Paddy’s Day! Add a shamrock to a light-colored t-shirt in this simple, kid-friendly DIY project. All you need is a t-shirt, freezer paper, green fabric paint, and a pencil!

“To all the days here and after—May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.” – Irish Toast

 

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