SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Since 2011, Goodwill Manasota and The McKay Academy – formerly known as Ave Maria Preparatory School – have partnered on the Workforce Education Scholarship Program. This program began when legislation was passed to assist anyone employed, 22-30 years old (it has since been expanded to 22-40 years old), with any type of disability to receive education to help them earn their high school diploma.
Program participants are Goodwill Manasota employees with disabilities who wish to earn a high school diploma while working. On August 10, six students – Johana Contreras Calderon, Selina Frazier, Irma Orona, Timothy Swart, Mario Tomlinson and Eureka Wiley – graduated from the program.
The length of time it takes to complete the Workforce Education Program depends on how many high school credits the student already has; however, the average commitment is approximately two years. The students meet twice a week, once at the Goodwill Corporate Campus in Bradenton and once at The McKay Academy campus in Myakka City. The program offers small class sizes, enabling students to benefit from more personal attention from instructors. It is free to all participants thanks to the Florida Department of Education, which covers the cost of books and tuition.
“Goodwill has been a tireless advocate for our school and for individuals with disabilities,” said Sister Gilchrist Cottrill, founder and director of The McKay Academy. “Our students have achieved greater heights because Goodwill helped to show them that they were valued, that they were worth the effort. Our partnership has created a purpose for many of our students who have earned their diplomas – students who were just going through the system now have a chance to achieve self-sufficiency.”
“With a high school diploma, our Workforce Education Program participants can reach higher – whether with Goodwill or another company – or go on to higher education,” said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “We want to empower people and show them they are worth the time and investment to help them achieve job and life success. We congratulate this year’s graduates on their momentous achievement.”
Approximately 50 have participated in Goodwill’s Workforce Education Program since its inception in 2011; to date, 30 have graduated. For more information, call (941) 355-2721 or go to experiencegoodwill.org.
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 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.