SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota was recently recognized by the Florida Division of Blind Services with the “Exemplary Employer Award.” This was presented in recognition of its partnership with the division, and the support Goodwill shows for individuals who are blind or visually impaired by creating opportunities for them to obtain independence through employment.
“Over the past three years, Goodwill Manasota has hired eight individuals referred by the Division of Blind Services – and this is just the beginning,” said Bob Rosinsky, president & CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “We are proud to be a company that pioneered hiring individuals with visual impairments. We believe in the pride and self-worth that comes through work, and we are proud to use donations to create jobs for those who have barriers to employment.”
When representatives from Goodwill Manasota began discussing future employment of those with visual impairments with the Florida Division of Blind Services, Margie Genter, vice president of mission for Goodwill, met with them to determine the possibility of a partnership.
“Our office values our partnership with Goodwill Manasota. As a result of this relationship several of our participants, who might not otherwise have found employment, are working in productive jobs,” said Bruce Emmerton, rehabilitation supervisor for the Florida Division of Blind Services. “This results in improved self-esteem and a positive anticipation of the future for them. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
“We are honored to be receiving this award, and we are excited to continue in our mission to employ people in our community as we look at their ability, instead of their disability,” said Rosinsky. “Perceptions have changed so much – and we feel our efforts have played a role in that change.”
The partnership with Florida Division of Blind Services, along with several other local agencies, is part of Goodwill’s long-term plan to continue employing and training those with barriers to self-sufficiency. The candidates are vetted through DBS and matched up with Goodwill. The agencies work together to schedule meetings, interviews, and transportation as needed, and then a store is selected that will best fit the applicant, along with job duties that fit his or her individual needs. Goodwill not only provides Team Members with a Good Partner Coach, who acts as a life coach and case manager, but employees are paid above minimum wage.
“Those who are visually impaired sometimes worry that potential employers will see them as a liability, but we see them as an asset to our team and our mission,” said Genter. “Of the team members in our Supported Jobs Plus program, which includes employees with disabilities or severe barriers to employment, 10 percent have a visual impairment. We are proud to continue to 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.