Earlier this month, Jane Oates, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (DOLETA) visited the GoodwillNyNj headquarters in Astoria, making good on an invite our President and CEO Bill Forrester extended during Goodwill Industries International’s Advocacy Day.

We’re delighted she came, and we’ll have a great future event to show for it. This April we’ll hold a job forum in NYC with Oates as keynote speaker and renowned economists, foundation and nonprofit leaders as panelists.

GoodwillNyNj President and CEO Bill Forrester and Jane Oates, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration

At the Goodwill’s headquarters, Oates met with staff and participants from the Goodwill’s workforce development programs before touring the Goodwill headquarters’ processing center, contract shop and training and rehabilitation programs. The Department of Labor currently funds (and has funded) several GoodwillNyNj programs for youth and adults.

Oates spoke with Norman Reckley, an older worker who joined Back to Work (BTW), Goodwill’s welfare-to-work program in Queens. There, Reckley was referred to WeCARE due to his medical conditions, and the employment coordinator referred him for a job at JC Penney. He applied, interviewed twice, and was hired last May to work as a salesperson. After barely six months on the job, his supervisor depends on him to oversee his co-workers in his absence.

She also spoke with Diana Rodriguez, who moved to New York City in early 2011, seeking opportunities to better provide for her family. After arriving from Florida, she applied for public assistance and was assigned to Goodwill’s Back to Work welfare-to-work program in the Bronx. Soon after, she was referred to Goodwill’s Beyond Jobs program, which helps single mothers find jobs.

Oates also spoke with Lakisha Plowden, a BTW Bronx participant who secured a full-time position at Bronx Lebanon Hospital after receiving services at the program’s Advance at Work Network Center; and Amina Ahmad, a single mother who wants to obtain the certification and experience needed to open a data/onsite training center for students without computer experience.

There’s a lot going on at your local Goodwill – thank you, and Jane Oates, for taking the time to peek in, take note, and take action towards improving our community through the power of work.

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