Help is on the way for women in Southwest Florida who are having difficulty advancing their careers.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is one of 45 Goodwill agencies across the country to take part in an innovative program that provides job training and placement services to women.
The program, known as Beyond Jobs and funded through a $7.7 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, will create a larger impact by reaching more women who are unemployed or underemployed.
The new funding will help broaden the reach of a program that was started in 2010 in five U.S. markets serving 1,342 women, to serving an expected 12,250 women in 45 communities.
"We are looking forward to expanding our assistance to the women of Southwest Florida," spokesperson Madison Mitchell said. "In 2012, Goodwill assisted over 30,000 individuals across Southwest Florida. This will allow us to grow that number even more in 2013 and 2014."
Beyond Jobs leverages Goodwill's holistic approach to job training, placement and family financial support services. Over the 30-month grant period, Goodwill will work with women to provide them the tools to achieve their educational, career and financial goals.
Once participants are placed in jobs, they receive support to retain them, to further their education and to advance in careers within their chosen industries.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 26 percent of the women who lost their jobs during the recession have regained them. Last year, more than one out of four women was still looking for work after more than a year of job hunting.
"Not only will this program help to place women, no matter their circumstances, in jobs, it will also give them the tools needed to support themselves and their families, long term," Todd Ryan, director of Career Development Services. "Beyond Jobs fits perfectly with Goodwill's mission of assisting people - in this case, women - in overcoming barriers to employment and independence."
Among the tools provided by the Beyond Jobs program are continued financial education, family strengthening services, early education and child care assistance, and connections to healthy food and nutrition initiatives.
The program is a key element in Walmart achieving the goals of its Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative, one of which is to help 200,000 U.S. women from low-income households with workforce readiness through job training, education, career counseling, and mentoring.
For more information, visit: corporate.walmart.com/women.
For information about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, visit: www.goodwillswfl.org.