October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), celebrating the contributions of workers with disabilities and the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) proudly practices these values every day through its Supported Employment program. Goodwill SCWI believes in the power of work to transform lives and create greater independence for individuals with barriers to employment.

Goodwill SCWI’s employment program supports more than 130 individuals with developmental disabilities, who are hired by local employers and assisted by Goodwill SCWI job coaches at no cost to the employers.

Dane County has recognized the performance of the supported employment program as the best in the state, adding “The supported employment program is led by a team of experienced professionals who have been successful in building relationships with local businesses [leading to] employment opportunities for clients formerly thought of as unlikely candidates for competitive employment.”

Employers agree, with Madison chef Evan Dannells describing his experience with supported employee David Brann, a 2017 Wisconsin Job Honors awardee.

“This is actually just an alternative labor force,” said Evan, “I can’t stress enough that it isn’t a free ride. David’s an actual employee who has actual expectations, and he’s productive.”

With unemployment at historic lows, more employers are finding that the enthusiastic and reliable workers they hire through Goodwill SCWI’s Supported Employment program fill much-needed roles in their businesses, becoming valued members of their respective work teams.

Goodwill SCWI is a local nonprofit operating 12 stores in the South Central region. The stores exist as the economic engine for Goodwill’s mission services, providing career guidance, supported employment and residential services to people with disabilities, mental health concerns and other barriers to employment and independent living.

2019 Goodwill SCWI Halloween Costume Contest

Q: What’s more fun than creating a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume on a budget?

A: Winning prizes for doing it!

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) has long been a destination for Halloween lovers.

Whether purchasing costumes at a great value or designing your own unique look, Goodwill is a Halloween fan’s paradise.

Goodwill SCWI is rewarding those ingenious and inventive shoppers with the annual Goodwill Halloween Costume Contest October 1st thru November 1st. #goodwillhalloween

Your spooktacular look could earn you a Goodwill gift card worth up to $100!  Second place will with a $50 gift card.

Entering is easy! Submit a photo of your Goodwill Halloween look to Goodwill SCWI’s Facebook page or tag @goodwillscwi on Instagram. The photo with the most likes wins!

Fire up your imagination at any one of 12 locations in the Goodwill SCWI region.

Goodwill SCWI Halloween Shops Open Friday, August 30

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) opens its in-store Halloween shops at all of its 12 locations at 9:00 a.m., Friday, August 30.

Halloween fans have long identified Goodwill as a great place to create unique costumes, complete with props. As this holiday has grown in popularity, Goodwill has remained a top pick, stocking both DIY and commercial costumes and accessories. The store-within-a-store concept has been in place for several years, though many customers shop the entire store to find inspiration. Shoppers can also get support from in-store merchandisers who are available to help create the desired look.

Recognizing its place in preparing for Halloween, Goodwill International last year ran an online poll that showcases some of the trends driving costume choices. Among the findings:

  • More than half of people who plan to dress up say they’ll coordinate their costume with another individual or group.
  • Ten percent say they will dress up their pet for Halloween, a trend that’s particularly popular among millennials.
  • The most popular costume style among respondents who plan to dress up is a unique, one-of-a-kind costume.
  • Costumes based on pop culture trends and characters from movies, TV shows and books are more popular than classic costumes such as witches and werewolves.
  • Fifty-three percent of respondents say they will decorate their home for Halloween.

Want to win big for your creative costume? Enter Goodwill SCWI’s annual Halloween Costume Contest for a chance to win a $100 or $50 Goodwill SCWI gift card.

Goodwill SCWI’s retail stores and donation centers are the economic engine that fund Goodwill SCWI’s mission services. Through those services Goodwill SCWI supports and trains people with barriers to work, providing job coaches for more than 130 people in partnership with 100+ local employers.

Students Get On-the-Job Training at Goodwill Middleton

When Goodwill Middleton opened in February, amidst eager shoppers was another group looking for something quite different. Students from Middleton High School were on a field trip with their transition coordinators, Nancy Whitinger and Christine Savides.

A key feature of these field trips is the ongoing search for meaningful workplace experience for students with barriers to employment.

As they walked the store with their students, Whitinger and Savides began to think it had serious partnership potential. And they were right.

The two women approached store staff to begin a conversation about whether Goodwill Middleton could take on some of their students with special needs as part-time employees. The answer was a solid yes, and since April, four of those students have been working 10 hours a week at the store.

Whitinger says the open spaces and quiet environment has been perfect for her students, and they are all finding their way to parts of the job they enjoy most.

For Eva, it’s all about organization. As she outlines her process, she never stops moving, emptying a cart of new merchandise in minutes and creating a display made for shopping.

“I love organizing things,” she says, explaining that the purses she’s stocking are sorted by size and color.

“I try to think how the customer will look at things. It makes me really, really happy when a customer picks out something I’ve organized.”

Whitinger and Savides say they are always looking for places that hire their students, but sometimes the hardest part is finding an employer who understands.

“It’s about the attitude,” the two agree. “When we approached Jenni (Johnston, store manager), she was so receptive to the idea. And when we started explaining our process, she said: ‘Don’t worry. We get it.’ We were hoping for them to be welcoming, and they were.”

Johnston says it was an easy decision.

“Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) is committed to creating truly inclusive workplaces. We partner with employers throughout our region, and we strive for the same environment in our stores.”

Assistant Manager Andrea Debs adds, “The core mission of Goodwill SCWI is ‘Independence Through the Power of Work.’ We are seeing these student employees develop new skills and taking more initiative when they come into work.”

The experiment has worked out so well, all four plan to continue working through the summer and into what will be their last year at Middleton High School. The students hope to continue their employment at Goodwill after they exit the transition program next year.

Today’s Q106 Wisconsin Dells Card Stop Event

Today’s Q106 is hosting a Wisconsin Dells Card Stop event to kick-off  summer at your Goodwill Stoughton!

Grab your FREE Wisconsin Dells Season Opener Cards with Steph Peters from Today’s Q106 Morning Show at Goodwill Stoughton (1780 US-51, Stoughton, WI 53589) starting at NOON while supplies last. Visit Q106’s website for more details: https://bit.ly/2GIvAO5

These popular coupon books go fast, so plan your visit now to Goodwill Stoughton, 1780 US-51 (next to Pick ‘n’ Save). The fun begins at noon and continues while supplies last.

2019 Goodwill SCWI Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

With just days to go before the tax deadline, Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin’s (SCWI) 2019 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is kicking into overdrive. While Goodwill SCWI has offered this free tax preparation for many years now, more taxpayers are flocking to take advantage of the service. VITA coordinators estimate more than 600 returns will be completed through the program by April 15.

Goodwill SCWI is unique among many community-based VITA services because clients can schedule an appointment in advance instead of being served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Goodwill also added a new service this year called Valet VITA. Valet VITA is a drop-off service that allows taxpayers to schedule a time to drop off tax documents, and a time to pick them up after completion.

VITA Program Coordinator Joe Byrnes says VITA volunteers are prepared to handle the many changes made in 2018, including the increased Standard Deduction and Child Tax Credit. Goodwill’s VITA program has grown in recent years in both volunteer tax preparers and taxpayers served.

Dan Roe, Goodwill SCWI VITA Volunteer

One volunteer, Dan Roe of Madison, says volunteering for VITA is rewarding for him both personally and professionally.

Roe is an accountant by trade, though accounting isn’t a big part of his work at his day job.

“Volunteering with Goodwill’s VITA program keeps me current on tax laws, and just adds to my overall knowledge base,” Roe said. “I see a lot of things I haven’t run across previously.

“Doing your taxes is a nerve-wracking burden for so many people,” he added. “It’s nice to help them alleviate that, to take it off their plate. It’s especially nice when you can help people get a tax fund they weren’t expecting”

Roe says he had an opportunity with one client that had paid too much in a previous year, and helped to recover a sizeable refund.

“People are really grateful for our time,” says Roe.

The program has proven so popular this year that new dates have been added leading up to the deadline. As a result, no more appointments are being accepted. Those with an interest in volunteering for the 2020 tax season may inquire by calling 608-246-3140, x155. This year, 30 volunteers contributed their time.

Tales With Teresa Reimagines Story Time At Madison Children’s Museum

Story time fans have a new option at Madison Children’s Museum. The museum has added Tales with Teresa to its calendar, featuring Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) client Teresa, who is supported in her work at a local preschool by a Goodwill SCWI job coach.

During her story time event, Teresa reads children’s books with the assistance of an electronic device. Teresa is non-verbal and uses the speech generating device to communicate. Prior to each session, Teresa programs the device, allowing it to read aloud the words she’s entered.

Teresa has been supported by Goodwill SCWI in her employment for almost 30 years, with 15 years at her current job.

Goodwill SCWI believes in the power of work to create greater independence for people with barriers to employment. Goodwill SCWI matches clients to local employers. Once hired, clients are accompanied by job coaches who assist with training and direction at no additional cost to the employer.

But Goodwill SCWI Employment Specialist Doug Rozak says being a fully-engaged member of the community goes beyond the workplace.

That premise means Goodwill SCWI also works with participants to develop other outlets for social interaction. Given the strong sense of volunteerism that exists in south central Wisconsin, the option for volunteering in the community is an important aspect of Goodwill SCWI’s support for its clients who choose to increase their level of activity.

“Teresa was already doing story time at her job with the preschool,” Rozak said. “She was interested in doing more, so we began working with our other partners to see what options might be available.”

In January, Teresa began volunteering for story time at Madison Children’s Museum.

 

Children’s Museum Volunteer Coordinator Allie Dunham says the response from parents and children has been positive and enlightening.

“Seeing Teresa sharing her positivity and humor with families has been such a rewarding experience.  Kids have come up with incredibly thoughtful questions in response to her story time, and we hope that this gives parents the opportunity to teach their children about differences, and how disabilities don’t define our potential.” said Dunham.

Teresa’s favorite part about being at the museum? “Working with the children,” she says.

Goodwill SCWI is a local, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, with more than 300 employees in a 14-county region. The retail stores and donation centers are the economic engine that fund Goodwill SCWI’s mission services. Goodwill SCWI supports and trains people with barriers to employment, providing job coaches for more than 120 people in partnership with 100+ local employers.

Goodwill Middleton Grand Opening

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) will open a new retail store and donation center in the Good Neighbor City of Middleton, WI at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 15.

The 14,000 square foot store is at 6280 Century Avenue. Goodwill SCWI is pleased to fill a space in Middleton that had been vacant for an extended period of time. The fully-renovated structure will be LEED certified with increased natural light and solar panels.

The new location in Middleton joins 11 other stores in south central Wisconsin.

“The growth of Goodwill SCWI’s retail operation fuels the expansion of community services for people with barriers to employment throughout the 14 counties we serve,” said Goodwill SCWI president and CEO Vicki Holschuh. “We’re very proud of the LEED certification, which is a wonderful expression of our commitment to sustainability.”

While Goodwill is well-known to bargain hunters, each new Goodwill store and donation center also presents employment opportunities for the community. The new location will have a staff of 25‒30 people for everything from entry-level to professional management positions. Jobs at the new location include receiving, sorting and pricing donated items, stocking the floor and cashiering.

Goodwill SCWI has been a part of the Middleton community since 2009 through its stand-alone donation center on University Avenue. That location will close with the opening of the new store, with all staff moving to the new location on Century Ave.

Goodwill SCWI is a local, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, with more than 300 employees in a 14-county region. The retail stores and donation centers are the economic engine that fund Goodwill SCWI’s mission services. Goodwill SCWI also supports and trains people with barriers to employment, providing job coaches for more than 150 people in partnership with 100+ local employers.

Living Green 2019 Guide

Live your life surrounded by what is most important to you. Use this guide to give your belongings a new story, show your commitment to local sustainability and to shop purposefully. This is your year to live green.

  1. Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

Take one room at time and then complete one specific task before moving on to the next item on your to-do list.

Priority 1: Kitchen?

Priority 2: Bedroom Closet?

Priority 3: What’s on your list?

 

  1. Gadgetry Strategy

If you hit the holiday jackpot with updated and upgraded electronics, check out Goodwill SCWI’s recycling partnership with Dell Reconnect. You can donate your working or non-working computer equipment knowing they will be responsibly recycled.

Storing broken electronics & appliances thinking that someday you’ll get around to fixing that printer – don’t kid yourself. You won’t. Dell Reconnect is your answer. Through Goodwill SCWI’s recycling partnership with Dell Reconnect you can donate your working or non-working computer equipment knowing it will be responsibly recycled.

 

  1. Pick a Number

Welcome new items by exchanging them for something you no longer need. Find things from each area in the home that are ready for reuse, recycling, or repurposing. Pick a number and then challenge yourself to get rid of that many things in your home.

 

4. Lights Out

Christmas lights that are outdated energy hogs or don’t work at all? Goodwill SCWI recycles those too. Through Goodwill SCWI’s various conscientious recycling streams you can donate knowing items won’t wind up in the landfill!

 

  1. Shopping Purposefully

It may sound a bit counterintuitive to create a shopping list. But this is no ordinary shopping list; this is a list of things you need to replace or things you will need to keep your home and yourself organized. Create 2 Lists: Replacements & Organizing Accessories

 

Print your free Living Green 2019 Guide!

Goodwill Middleton to Open February 2019

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) is pleased to announce the opening of a new retail store and donation center in the Good Neighbor City of Middleton, WI in February, 2019.

6280 Century Avenue, Middleton.

The 14,000 square foot store is at 6280 Century Avenue. The fully-renovated structure will be LEED certified with increased natural light and solar panels.

The new location in Middleton joins 11 other stores in south central Wisconsin.

“The growth of Goodwill SCWI’s retail operation fuels the expansion of community services for people with barriers to employment throughout the 14 counties we serve,” said Goodwill SCWI president and CEO Vicki Holschuh. “We’re very proud of the LEED certification, which is a wonderful expression of our commitment to sustainability.” 

While Goodwill is well-known to shoppers, each new Goodwill store and donation center also presents employment opportunities for the community. The new location will have a staff of 25‒30 people for everything from entry-level to professional management positions. Jobs at the new location include receiving, sorting and pricing donated items, stocking the floor and cashiering.

Goodwill Middleton roof looking west.

Goodwill SCWI has been a part of the Middleton community since 2009 through its stand-alone donation center on University Avenue. That location will close with the opening of the new store that will accomodate donors with a convenient donation drive-thru and full shopping experience. 

Goodwill SCWI is a local, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, with more than 300 employees in a 14-county region. The retail stores and donation centers are the economic engine that fund Goodwill SCWI’s mission services. Goodwill SCWI also supports and trains people with barriers to work, providing job coaches for more than 150 people in partnership with 100+ local employers.