Goodwill of Central Iowa will expand its mission of assisting individuals with barriers in their employment journey with new services in Story, Marshall and Tama counties. The nonprofit will offer its supported employment services to individuals receiving support from Medicaid, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) or the county as it relates to job development or job coaching.


Goodwill of Central Iowa’s supported employment services are designed to provide personalized assistance to individuals with disabilities. Independence is encouraged by helping job seekers get the skills necessary to find and maintain employment in the community while focusing on individual strengths. Through job coaching and hands-on training, Goodwill works with participants to understand their abilities and determine which jobs will allow those to shine.


“The mission of Goodwill is to improve lives by providing skills training and helping people find jobs,” said Jackie Norris, Goodwill of Central Iowa president and CEO. “We saw a need in these counties for individuals with disabilities and knew it was an opportunity for us to provide a solution. Our supported employment program is one of the top-performing in Polk County, and as we make an intentional effort to expand our mission within our 22-county region, we knew this could be an impactful delivery.”


As a member of the Polk County Health Services Community Employment Outcomes Network, in 2017, Goodwill of Central Iowa was recognized as the largest provider in the network, with a 30 percent increase in individuals served last year. The nonprofit continued to lead in the shortest amount of time a participant was in job development, placed the largest number of participants with disabilities in employment, and saw a 97 percent satisfaction rate.


“This program is all about support,” said Katherine Riley Harrington, director of mission services at Goodwill of Central Iowa. “We create a safe, encouraging environment to empower individuals to realize and go after their full potential. We are excited to be partnering with local employers to help meet their talent needs by exploring this underutilized pool of talent.”


Goodwill of Central Iowa is currently recruiting team members to expand this service delivery. Career specialist, job coach and supported employment lead positions are now available for application on the organization’s website. Goodwill’s goal is to fill these roles in the next month and begin offering services in November once all employees have been onboarded.


This expansion is initially being funded by the Goodwill of Central Iowa Foundation. Additional support will come from the social enterprise’s thrift stores, where 85 cents of every dollar earned in revenue goes to support skills training and programs such as this. Individuals, corporate or community partners who would like to contribute a monetary donation can do so through the Goodwill website.