Goodwill Provides Educational Success for Employees


( ENSPIRE Interview ) Goodwill Industries of Central Florida Introduces New Financial Program

ENSPIRE Contributor: Ava Girardi

Goodwill Industries of Central Florida’s (GICF) President and CEO, Ed Durkee, has announced that GICF will introduce a new program known as the Tuition Scholarship Program. Through this program, GICF employees will have their tuition or vocational certification paid for by GICF. 

Part-time and full-time employees of GICF who have completed 90 days of employment are eligible to receive 100% of their tuition in order to pay for books and other fees. 80 employees have already become interested in this program and the next step would be to work with a Prosperity Planner. The planner is an individual who works at Goodwill to help plan out financial and career goals. Once paired up with a planner, the GICF staff member will have a plan set up and receive one-on-one planning. 

Even though this program is open to everyone, there are still some requirements that need to be fulfilled before considering it. The individual must enroll in a Florida-state public college or university, an accredited technical college, or a trade school. Also, the student must maintain a passing grade of a “C.” 

Through this new program, Goodwill will fulfill its main mission, which is “building lives that work.” Along with this program being an opportunity to receive aid when pursuing education, it will also bring in more employees for Goodwill. GICF has over 1,200 employees in areas such as Orange, Osceola, Volusia, Seminole, Brevard, and Lake counties. Goodwill is also offering employment in departments in the warehouse, retail, transportation, HR, and IT. If one is interested in working at Goodwill and applying for a position, the application is available on its site,

ENSPIRE Magazine spoke with Goodwill’s Prosperity Planning Manager, Odalys Simmons, to learn more about the Employee Tuition Scholarship Program:

Have more people been applying to jobs at Goodwill because of this tuition program?

“Yes, we have received additional interest in working at Goodwill. We are pleased the program has been well received by the community and our employees.”

What is the reason this program was created? Do you have many young individuals working at Goodwill? 

“This program was created for our employees to continue their education in both traditional degree programs and for those interested in upskilling or gaining certifications to reach their personal goals. Goodwill wants every employee to achieve their personal goals through their job and our Mission of Building Lives That Work.”

Do Goodwill stores across the country do this for their employees?

“Each Goodwill is independent and serves the community through programs that best suit their individual needs.” 

Could you discuss the further steps once an employee is approved for this program?

“We work with partners at the educational institutions to assist the employee in choosing their classes and help with the process of enrollment, purchasing books and materials, and all other tasks related to their education. All tuition payments are made up-front, free to the employee, and books or other materials are purchased through the program prior to class start. Our Prosperity Planners continue to check in with these employees regularly to assist in any needs they may have.” 

Do you have any plans to expand this program and help individuals outside Goodwill such as in underserved communities?

“This Employee Tuition Scholarship Program is focused on assisting Goodwill employees to meet their goals. Outside of this program, we work with the community to assist individuals in advancing their career, increase their income and reach their personal goals, including educational and training goals.” 

With two out of five students dropping out of college because of financial factors, Goodwill has made it a mission to keep students in school through its new program. Along with Ed Durkee and other members at Goodwill, it is their main goal to help those in need and not just the people they serve, but the individuals that serve them. Its employees work in the counties across central Florida to serve the people in the community, so Goodwill believes it is now time to help the people that make it possible to run this organization. With this impactful program, Goodwill will help with the financial burden of college, but also bring in more employees to help the mission at Goodwill. 

To learn more about this program, visit Goodwill’s site here. Also, check out the organization’s Facebook and Instagram.

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