SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Three local foundations have donated funds in support of Goodwill Manasota’s successful Supported JobsPlus (SJP) Program, which aims to employ individuals with physical, developmental and psychiatric disabilities. Goodwill recently received grants from the Jelks Family Foundation, the Mae & James Hazelton Charity and Trust, and the Kiwanis Club of Sarasota to support the SJP Program.
Implemented in 2005, the SJP Program targets sustainable employment for those with significant disabilities. Part of the process includes identifying specific jobs at each store to earmark for a person with a disability. Through partnerships with agencies throughout the counties of Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto, individuals who have been unsuccessful obtaining employment elsewhere and have a desire to work are referred to Goodwill. As positions at Goodwill become available, the agencies are notified and applicants are interviewed.
Potential employees are accompanied by a job coach from the referring agency during the initial training process until the new Team Member feels comfortable with the required tasks. Eventually, the agency’s job coach fades from the process and the Team Member is provided a Goodwill Good Partner Coach, who acts as a life coach, and a case manager who offers employment, family and personal coaching. Workplace accommodations are made in order to ensure that team members are given the tools to be successful.
“We have been proud to match the abilities of our team members to our jobs. We schedule working hours so that team members who require therapy or specialized training have the flexibility they need. Our investment in our Goodwill family results in opportunities for success for so many who have previously been overlooked,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. “Millions of Americans with disabilities make important contributions to the workplace every day. With the support of these three foundations, we can continue our mission.”
In 2013, the unemployment rate among adults with disabilities was 13.2 percent – nearly twice as high as the unemployment rate of people without disabilities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This year, Goodwill reached a new milestone: of the local workforce of 800 Goodwill team members, 12 percent have significant disabilities.
Members of the SJP Program have the same benefits as other Team Members: a job paying minimum wage or better, opportunities for advancement and wage increases, GED and high school diploma and ESOL classes.
“We look for a person’s abilities rather than his or her disabilities,” said Rosinsky. “Given the opportunity, people with challenges often excel and flourish. We take great pride in being able to provide employment and change lives through the power of work.”
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2013, we served more than 16,000 people, placed 537 people in jobs and assisted 329 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 37 million pounds out of the landfill. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.