People with disabilities have unique skills and talents that add to the diversity and vitality of a workplace.
For decades, Goodwill® has helped people with disabilities find employment, become independent and support themselves and their families. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, it has helped increase access to goods and services, such as employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and prohibit employment discrimination. Although individuals with disabilities have benefited from this law, Goodwill knows that those individuals still face challenges to finding jobs and becoming independent. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people with disabilities have a more than 14-percent unemployment rate, compared to 9.4 percent of people without disabilities(1).
According to the ADA National Network, there are more than 54 million people or nearly one in six Americans who have some form of physical or mental impairment that substantially limits their daily activities, including working, walking, seeing, hearing or caring for themselves(2).
"Despite these circumstances, people with disabilities have unique skills and talents that add to the diversity and vitality of a workplace," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Many people with disabilities need little to no accommodation to do their jobs, and advances in technology are helping to increase productivity for all kinds of workers, including those with disabilities."
Goodwill agencies offer a variety of services to help people with disabilities be independent and fully participate in their communities.
In 2008, Goodwill Industries® of Orange County (Santa Ana, CA) opened the Goodwill Fitness Center, a 12,000-square-foot facility designed for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The gym has fully accessible fitness equipment, as well as classes and trained staff to help people with disabilities experience the positive health benefits of exercise.
The Goodwill Industries of Northern New England (Portland, ME) runs a Neuro-Rehabilitation program to treat people with brain injuries and neurological disabilities. People with these injuries and disabilities face tough challenges including loss of memory, difficulties with movement and social interaction, and problems with organizational skills. Goodwill's services can help people regain those skills.
Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) runs a Goodwill Assistive Technology Program, which helps people with disabilities get the assistive devices, training and job accommodations they need to be independent and excel at work.
"Goodwill commemorates the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA by continuing to help our friends and neighbors with disabilities build their careers and improve their lives," said Gibbons. "We must look past a person's disability and remember that each person is an individual capable of making a positive contribution to his or her community."
About Goodwill Industries International - Goodwill Industries International is a network of 166 community-based agencies in the United States and Canada with 14 affiliates in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of North America's top five most valuable and recognized nonprofit brands as well as a leading social services enterprise (Source: Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, 2009). 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 2,400 retail 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. In 2009, nearly 2 million people in the United States and Canada benefited from Goodwill's career services. Goodwill channels 84 percent of its revenues directly into its programs and services. To find a Goodwill location near you, use the online locator at www.goodwill.org, or call (800) 741-0186. Twitter: @GoodwillIntl. Facebook: GoodwillIntl