SOURCE: Goodwill Industries International

June 26, 2008 11:12 ET

Goodwill Advocates Urge Congress to Invest in the American Worker

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - June 26, 2008) - More than 50 representatives from Goodwill Industries gathered on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 25, for approximately 170 meetings to urge Congress to make real investments in the American workforce.

"In the United States, the overall unemployment rate continues to rise and the economy continues to soften," says Jim Gibbons, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "In communities around the United States, Goodwill employment training programs are helping people most impacted by economic challenges. Now is not the time to cut funding for our most valuable economic resource -- the American worker."

Goodwill offered recommendations to Congress on several important pieces of legislation, including:

Second Chance Act: According to research, of the 650,000 people released from jails and prisons each year, seven out of 10 will commit new crimes within three years. Now that the Second Chance Act has been signed into law, Goodwill is urging Congress to fund the act in the FY 2009 federal budget so that organizations like Goodwill can better help communities meet the needs of formerly incarcerated people by providing comprehensive and coordinated services to help reintegrate ex-offenders into society.

Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Act/AbilityOne Program: Through more than 600 nonprofit agencies, the AbilityOne program creates employment opportunities for some 45,000 people who are blind or have severe disabilities. These employees provide a broad range of commercial services to the federal government, such as document management, food service and janitorial services. Goodwill believes Congress should increase employment opportunities and choice of employment settings within the AbilityOne program; promote, encourage and develop procurement opportunities that lead to the creation of more jobs; and ensure compliance and integrity within the program.

Workforce Investment Act: Goodwill Industries International supports increased funding for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in the FY 2009 budget to meet the skills development needs of job seekers, employees and employers. Separate funding streams for youth, adult and dislocated worker programs should be maintained to ensure these populations are adequately served. Goodwill also urges Congress to make WIA reauthorization a priority this year.

Green Jobs Act: Goodwill urges Congress to fund the Green Jobs Act. Training for green jobs is an essential investment in a skilled American workforce.

Savings for Persons with Disabilities (H.R. 3696): Current disability policy discourages work and feeds fears that if people with disabilities work and save for retirement, they will lose their eligibility for income support and Medicaid when they need it. H.R. 3696 would exclude 401(k) and IRA retirement accounts from federally funded means-tested benefits. Goodwill urges Congress to pass H.R. 3696 and give all Americans -- including people with disabilities -- the chance to work and sustain their financial independence for the long term.

Electronics Recycling: Goodwill Industries supports the enactment of legislation that would create a national framework to recycle and dispose safely of the increasing volumes of electronic products, such as computers and televisions, which would otherwise go to the landfill. Legislation should recognize that nonprofit organizations collecting electronic goods are acting for the benefit of the community and should not bear the financial burden of disposal, which diverts resources from their charitable programs and, in the case of Goodwill, career programs that help people find and keep good jobs.

Contact Information

  • Contact
    Charrisse Lyons
    Media Advocacy Manager
    Goodwill Industries International
    Tel. (240) 333-5288