Our Story – Why WORK Matters

Our Story – Why WORK Matters


About Goodwill

Goodwill Industries is a non-profit social enterprise that provides work opportunities, skills development and employee and family strengthening for those who face barriers such as disability or social disadvantage. The aim is to advance individuals, families and communities toward economic self-sufficiency and prosperity.

Goodwill creates jobs, and unites caring and business to develop individual and community potential.

On a number of enterprise platforms such as donated goods, thrift retail, recycling, logistics, food and hospitality, commercial services and light manufacturing, Goodwill creates jobs, and unites caring and business to develop individual and community potential. Goodwill’s commitment goes beyond providing a job and a paycheck. We provide benefits and have a strong program emphasis on training, access to education, career advancement, poverty reduction and social inclusion.

Who We Serve
Meeting Labour Market Needs and Career Aspirations
Career Advancement Services and Training
Serving Southwestern Ontario
Why WORK Matters
Sustainability and Environmental Impact
Our History
Circle of Hope
Goodwill Industries International

 

Who We Serve

Goodwill serves individuals who seek meaningful and sustainable work with an emphasis on building and strengthening abilities of persons challenged by physical, mental, developmental, sensory, learning, addictions and other disabilities, and also the chronically unemployed, youth at risk, the aged, Aboriginal people and newcomers to Canada.

Meeting Labour Market Needs and Career Aspirations

Goodwill carefully monitors local and regional labour markets and targets people development initiatives with a view of meeting the labour needs of employers, especially in those sectors where shortages exist or are envisioned. We focus on labour markets where entry-level workers can aspire, such as food and hospitality, retail and light manufacturing, and offer training to foster on-the-job skills development to prepare individuals for better, higher wage work opportunities.

Career planning is a focus for Goodwill employees and opportunities for advancement are available through internships, job shadowing or access to apprenticeships in areas such as management, human resources, logistics and marketing. Annually, Goodwill offers scholarships to all employees to assist with their education and career advancement.

Career Advancement Services and Training

Goodwill’s team of 50 professional trainers, employment specialists and counsellors offer a vast range of services for job seekers and employers seeking to hire. The unemployed, under-employed and those facing barriers like disability can turn to Goodwill for access to training and the funding to pay for it. Employment services such as career exploration, job search, resume development, interview techniques, and even skilled facilitation in matching candidates with employers are available. A range of free resources including workshops, job listings, access to computers/internet and job fairs help job seekers develop a network, build confidence and make connections with employers.

Serving Southwestern Ontario

Goodwill Industries, Ontario Great Lakes, established in 1945, is headquartered in London, Ontario with satellites in the Region of Waterloo. We are 1 of 6 separately incorporated non-profit regional Goodwills in Canada, and 1 of 164 internationally. We employ more than 600 individuals across 95 different job roles, and last year provided employment services to approximately 20,000  job seekers through our Career Centre and Job Connection. We are a lead community partner in Bridges Out of Poverty│Circles and Impact Loan initiatives aimed at reducing attitudinal barriers, stigma and poverty, and fostering social inclusion.

Why WORK Matters

Work is the lifeblood of healthy, vibrant communities. Unemployment creates financial hardships, increased health risks and social isolation. Globalization, technological change, deregulation, the incorporation of contingent labour into the work force and a growing emphasis on competitiveness at all cost have changed the landscape of work and further increased barriers for those who are marginalized. This lack of stable, sustainable work is threatening the wellbeing of our neighbourhoods and straining the social fabric of our communities.

Goodwill believes that work is a cornerstone of people’s lives and can be transformational as it is central to economic self-sufficiency and the ability to support one’s family. We believe that when people are working, communities are working. Work helps people to belong, to matter, and to connect to each other, making their communities stronger and healthier.

We think everyone should have access to employment, that most people can work, given the proper support and opportunity, and that communities work best when everyone is given an opportunity to work, no matter what barriers they may face.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Goodwill is a triple bottom line organization committed to people, planet, and prosperity. Our mission of helping individuals on their journey to work integrates on a social enterprise platform that engages citizens in reuse and recycling, thereby diverting millions of pounds of goods from landfill and thus helping to sustain the environment.

There is much depth to Goodwill’s commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental impact. We embrace smart growth principles, revitalize declining neighbourhoods, engage in brownfield development and LEED building design, create ‘green’ jobs, and train and certify individuals for the emerging ‘green’ labour market. We participate in an “Energy Challenge” with our Goodwill North American colleagues whereby we track and reduce our energy consumption. Today we benchmark in the top of our field in waste to landfill diversion as we strive for ‘zero waste.’

Our History

Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and early social innovator. Determined to help poor immigrants, Rev. Helms implemented his innovative idea of collecting used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then training and hiring those who were poor or disabled to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and from this vision, the Goodwill philosophy of ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ was born. Dr. Helms’ vision set the course for what today has become a $5.4 billion non-profit, charitable organization.

Helms described Goodwill as an ‘industrial program as well as a social service enterprise … a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources were depleted.’

A Circle of Hope

Goodwill is a circle of hope, dignity, and strength. When people give to Goodwill, shop in our stores, purchase food in our café or contract our business services, they help us fulfill our mission of creating jobs, and providing work opportunities and training to people who face barriers to employment and helping them realize their potential.

About Goodwill Industries International

Goodwill Industries International is a network of 164 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill agencies are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 2,700 stores and online at shopgoodwill.com. Local Goodwill agencies also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food service preparation, and document imaging and shredding. Last year, Goodwill helped more than 9.8 million people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care, to name a few — and get the supporting services they needed to be successful — such as English language training, additional education, or access to transportation and child care.