LAS VEGAS – Goodwill of Southern Nevada (Goodwill®) received a philanthropic gift of $150,000 from a funder who wishes to stay anonymous. This generous investment in Goodwill’s Disability Programming brings to life “the dignity of work” which is what Goodwill is all about.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and Goodwill of Southern Nevada highlights this opportunity by celebrating the contributions of people with disabilities to Southern Nevada’s workplaces and economy. After a year off due to COVID-19, the Student Work Experience Program (SWEP) is in full swing this fall at Goodwill thrift stores around the valley.
Moving from adolescence to adulthood is a critical time period for all youth but particularly for disabled youth. Finding a pathway for future employment and self-sufficiency is vital. Students who have exposure to work experiences during high school are more likely to develop workplace socialization skills. Goodwill of Southern Nevada’s program for youth with disabilities provides students with a real-work experience environment and an opportunity to gain valuable job skills. The SWEP (Student Work Experience Program) activities are designed with input from the teachers and address specific educational goals for each student within a work setting each week at a Goodwill thrift store. These goals may include social appropriateness, focus, professionalism, social skills, teamwork, improved confidence, independence, improved dexterity, and hand-eye coordination as well as critical thinking and problem solving.
With prior funding from the same anonymous donor, 620 students from 35 different Las Vegas area high school Special Education classes are able to experience the dignity of work this school year. This program includes a Goodwill-sponsored summer camp experience which is designed to expose students to different career paths. Field trips, with a focus on STEAM, open students’ minds as to the careers they could pursue after high school graduation.
For more information on Goodwill mission and career services, visit GoodwillVegas.org/programs