Goodwill Warehouse Helping Students Graduate

Goodwill of South Central Ohio’s warehouse team is assisting students at Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center with getting credits they need to graduate.

Kim Graves, volunteer coordinator at Pickaway-Ross, is working with about 160 students to ensure they get volunteer and/or work credits needed to obtain a seal for graduation. He connected with Goodwill to help out when he came to the corporate office to gather feedback for a young man who did yard work over the summer for Goodwill’s HR Coordinator Kim Hoffman. While at the office, he spoke with Goodwill’s COO Mark Hughes.

“I thought what a great opportunity to bring a van load of kids to earn their seal for graduation,” Kim said.

Students are working toward earning the Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal which includes work readiness training along with working a job or volunteering to obtain the seal. Not all students have access to be able to work or volunteer on their own due to lack of transportation, so Graves connects with places like Goodwill for students to volunteer during school hours and he transports them to the work site.

Photo: Jona Ison

“It’s a win-win. The school students are getting a win by getting their hours and Goodwill gets volunteer help,” Graves said.

Since January, the students have been helping with a variety of things at the warehouse such as learning basic packaging and shipping with eCommerce, recycling skills, sorting donations, and learning to use a pallet jack – pretty much everything in the warehouse except driving the forklift, said Josh Carl, a Goodwill District Manager.

“I think the kids are really eager and wanting to learn,” Josh said.

Evan Hice, a senior at Pickaway-Ross, said the experience so far is good. He was helping eCommerce with shipping which is a skill that could come in handy with his plans to start a business creating statues out of scrap metal.

Pickaway Ross Senior Evan HicePhoto: Jona Ison

Students also are getting the chance to learn soft skills employers look for like work ethic, professionalism, and punctuality, Kim said. When not working, students are being taught other skills at the center such as doing job searches and resume writing.

“This is invaluable, especially for those kids who have never done anything like this,” Kim said.

Goodwill may be able to help many of those students in its region who are at-risk of not graduating in 2024 and beyond earn the Ohio Means Jobs Readiness Seal at no cost to the student of the student’s school.

Any of those at-risk students who have an IEP or those who don’t have an IEP but have a physical or mental disability should be eligible to receive a referral for the following workforce development programs:

Summer Youth:

  • 5-week paid work experience in a Goodwill store or partnering employer
  • Students work in groups of four with a Goodwill job coach learning job readiness skills
  • Transportation may be available
  • Accepting applications now for summer 2023

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS):

  • Program provides students information needed to identify and achieve their employment goals and advocate for themselves
  • There are five classes: Work-based learning; instruction on self-advocacy; post-secondary opportunities; job exploration counseling; and workplace readiness
  • Program is offered virtually one-on-one or in person at the school in groups of at least 3 and no more than 4 at a time

Non-Permanent Job Development:

  • Assists youth in finding a temporary job such as for the summer or an apprenticeship
  • Service provided one-on-one in person or virtually
  • On-the-job supports may be available

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