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DeKalb County partners with Goodwill on rental, utility assistance program

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DeKalb County partners with Goodwill on rental, utility assistance program

Photo provided by Goodwill of North Georgia.

DeKalb County, GA — Goodwill of North Georgia delivered rental and utility assistance to about 127 DeKalb County residents this year through a partnership with DeKalb County. Goodwill administered $500,000 in federal funds provided by DeKalb County to help residents avoid eviction, find stability, and prepare for the future.

DeKalb County provided the funding in April, and Goodwill has distributed all the funding to residents. Goodwill of North Georgia has partnered with DeKalb County for many years and has several locations in the county, including its support service center.

“As part of that relationship, which goes a long way, one of the many things that people needed during the pandemic was the ability to avoid eviction,” said Jenny Taylor, vice president of career services and chief mission officer at Goodwill. “That was part of the recovery funds that were available at the federal level and were distributed to many local government entities.”

Through the rental and utility assistance program, Goodwill worked directly with landlords and the utilities to make those payments.

“We wanted to get involved with the rental assistance program because we saw an increasing need for the people that we serve. The effects of the [COVID-19] pandemic were significant for a huge number of people who were immediately out of work,” Taylor said. “We entered into some of the services that we might not normally have done because the response was necessary. There was more of a need than usual.”

Goodwill also wanted to help address the root cause of why people were facing issues with utilities or eviction.

“Our mission is to put people to work. We have a financial opportunity center, so we didn’t want to just put a band-aid on the problem but instead wanted to get to the root cause,” Taylor said.

Goodwill also provided financial opportunity workshops for individuals receiving assistance. The workshops focused on managing debt, savings, budgeting, and creating financial security, according to a spokesperson for Goodwill.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond formed the DeKalb Tenant-Landlord Assistance Coalition in February 2021 that is made up of public and nonprofit partners.

“The coalition has provided nearly $55 million in financial relief to DeKalb renters threatened by eviction and landlords facing revenue losses—both due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath,” a spokesperson for DeKalb County said. “Goodwill has been an ideal partner because of its reputation, commitment, and the wrap-around services it offers, including job training, rental assistance, and employment services.”

The county is considering extending the partnership with Goodwill to administer rental and utility assistance.

In other Goodwill news:

– Goowill is also partnering with Accenture to launch a workforce training program for clean energy jobs.

The Goodwill Clean Tech Infrastructure Accelerator will teach employability and technical skills for jobs involving solar and storage, electric vehicle charging, heat pumps, and energy efficiency, according to a press release.

Here is the full press release:

ATLANTA, GA – Goodwill of North Georgia, one of the largest retail operations & workforce training agencies in Georgia with a mission to put people to work, in partnership with Accenture is launching a groundbreaking, relevant workforce training program for the most in-demand, entry-level, clean energy jobs. The Goodwill Clean Tech Infrastructure Accelerator™ (CITA) will teach employability and technical skills for jobs involving solar and storage, electric vehicle charging, heat pumps, and energy efficiency.

Four Goodwill Clean Tech Infrastructure Accelerator locations will launch next year in Atlanta, Houston, Nashville, and Detroit. There are also plans to scale this program to 20 cities in the next seven years – thereby training an estimated 7,000 job seekers.

The first Atlanta-based training cohort will take place between January 29 – February 23, 2024. Two additional cohorts will happen between March 4 – March 29, 2024, and April 8 – May 3, 2024. Interested parties can register at CareerConnector.org or speak directly with a Goodwill career navigator at the Goodwill Decatur career center located at 2201 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur, GA 30033.

The CITA fills a critical talent gap by providing people with the relevant skills and certifications required for these in-demand jobs that offer opportunities for higher wages and better career advancement. Goodwill will run the program, proactively targeting under and unemployed individuals. Participants in the program will be paid as they learn through intensive, hands-on, competency-based training as well as tailored employment readiness and career placement services.

WorkSource Fulton has joined forces with Goodwill of North Georgia to support hands-on training for an electric car charging station operations and maintenance program. Individuals selected for the free training will participate in an intensive four-week program, which includes a commitment of 40 hours per week as well as paid earn-while-you-learn training specific to the clean energy industry. At the conclusion of the training, participants will earn industry-recognized certifications and receive job placement support.

Nearly 40% of advanced energy jobs – specifically the ones targeted by the Goodwill Clean Tech Infrastructure Accelerator – do not require college degrees and pay more than the national median salary. Through this program, Goodwill and Accenture will unlock new talent needed for the energy transition while diversifying clean energy’s workforce and putting job seekers on pathways to thriving careers. Jobs participants will be trained for see an average annual salary of $62,000.

“As we launch the Goodwill Clean Tech Infrastructure Accelerator in Georgia, our focus is not only on bridging the talent gap in the clean energy sector but also on transforming lives through meaningful employment,” said Keith Parker, CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia. “This program is a testament to our commitment to empowering individuals with the skills and opportunities needed to thrive in the rapidly evolving clean tech landscape. By training and placing more than 24,000 job seekers here in Georgia this year alone, we are not just filling jobs, we are fueling a brighter, more sustainable future for our communities and the planet. At Goodwill of North Georgia, we believe in harnessing the power of work to create a world where everyone has the chance to succeed and contribute to our collective progress.”

“The clean energy transition is demanding new sources of talent who understand clean tech and can apply that knowledge to achieve decarbonization,” said Manish Sharma, CEO of Accenture North America. “Through the Goodwill Clean Tech Infrastructure Accelerator, we’re proud to unlock skilling opportunities that are accessible to everyone, benefitting workers, industry, and our local communities.”

The Goodwill Clean Tech Infrastructure Accelerator began through an Accenture Corporate Citizenship investment and is based on decades of experience training job seekers through Skills to Succeed. Key training partners include GRID Alternatives, ChargerHelp! and BlocPower. These three leading clean energy organizations are contributing curriculum and training model expertise for the program. Additional partners and investors will be joining as the initiative is scaled.

To learn more about Goodwill of North Georgia’s career services and job training programs, please visit www.goodwillng.org.

– Goodwill is hosting an After-Christmas Clean-out donation drive. The organization is encouraging people to donate gently used items, like winter coats, scarves, gloves, and sweaters to help prepare shoppers for the changing weather, according to a press release.

“As many people receive new coats, gloves, or scarves during the holiday season, donating older items is a good idea to make space for the new ones. This way, someone else can benefit from these items that we no longer need and make them treasures of their own,” said Elaine Armstrong, the vice president of marketing at Goodwill of North Georgia.

The proceeds from the sale of donated items go towards funding the operations of Goodwill‘s career centers and skill training programs. In 2023, Goodwill of North Georgia helped more than 22,500 people connect to new jobs.

Goodwill also offers a donation tracker that helps you keep track of your donation receipts.

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