CEI Blog: Overcoming Barriers to Success
Washington, August 20, 2018
I believe that all Arkansans should be afforded the chance to pursue happiness and prosper regardless of their environment or background.
Pictured: Brian Marsh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, showing Secretary Carson and me Goodwill’s training facility where we met with students at their Excel Center.We saw the Excel Center at Goodwill, which is the first adult high school in Arkansas. The tuition-free school provides students aged 19 and older with a second chance to earn a high school diploma, and is geared toward working adults. In particular, flexible and accelerated class schedules, free drop-in childcare, and transportation assistance are available to each student. Life coaches are assigned to every student to ensure that any barriers to success can be overcome. Support from resources like life coaches are invaluable as they played an essential role in my growth as a student.
Another impressive aspect of Goodwill is their prison reentry program. Individuals participating in the Goodwill program have a recidivism rate of less than 10 percent compared to the national rate of around 50 percent. This program assists individuals with a history of criminal convictions and incarceration as they transition into their communities and find a better quality of life. This enables people to overcome barriers to successful employment through training and education. Goodwill delivers a superior level of expertise in recruiting, screening, and preparing jobseekers, and as a result, employers receive the most qualified and capable candidates.
It’s obvious through the results we’ve seen that Goodwill is more than your neighborhood retail store and a place to drop off donations. This is an organization that cares deeply about giving back and empowering communities, and one that cares about providing Arkansans an opportunity to succeed, regardless of their pasts and circumstances. That’s why I’m so proud to recognize them this month. At Goodwill the motto is “Donate, Shop, and Change a Life!” When organizations like Goodwill flourish in our state, Arkansans and our communities are better off.
Check them out at goodwillar.org.