Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes to us from Kelsey Glass, a post-secondary success facilitator at Goodwill Industries of Denver and a former Public Allies Fellow here at Eagle Rock.
Mention Goodwill Industries and most people think of the retail stores where you can purchase clothing, furniture, housewares, and other goods for bargain-basement prices.
And that’s an accurate portrayal. But what most people don’t realize is that Goodwill Industries of Denver uses the profits from its retail stores to fund multiple workforce development programs that impact more than 20,000 young people, adults, and differently abled people annually.
Goodwill Industries of Denver’s Youth Career Development Service (YCDS) tackles metro Denver, Colorado’s school dropout rate — among the highest in the nation — head on. We employ teachers who equip students with both job and life skills, introduce them to career options, help them prepare for post-secondary education, and connect them with mentors in the community.
With 40 teachers in 33 high-need middle and high schools in Denver Metro and Northern Colorado, the Youth Career Development Program makes a huge impact on our community. It serves 18,000 youngsters through classroom instruction, case management, group mentoring, mock interviews, job and life-skills coaching, career fairs, campus visits, guest speakers, and internship development.
Goodwill’s teachers facilitate a robust post-secondary and workforce-readiness curriculum through daily instruction in Grades 6 through 12. Our programs have increased the likelihood of graduation and improved the potential for career success over the past 17 years. Despite this success, we are committed to continuous organizational improvement to provide the highest-quality instruction to our students.
As part of that effort, we began to search for a new curriculum structure back in 2011 that would encourage depth of understanding for students, create a common language for staff, be a tool for more intentional planning, and encompassed educational best practices.