SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota and the Gulfcoast CEO Forum partnered to present the results of an independent study, “State of Employment,” during a luncheon attended by nearly 200 community members on October 23. The study – which was funded by an anonymous donor – looked at the current employment numbers and the forecast for jobs in our community over the next 3-5 years for veterans and persons with disabilities.
Lisl Liang, editor-in-chief of SRQ Magazine, moderated the event with a panel that included Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky, Jaime DiDomenico of CoolToday, Brian West of Publix Super Markets, Tamara Rogers of the Resort at Longboat Key Club, and Anita Aldridge of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority. The luncheon was sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and special guests included Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, who welcomed the assembled.
Gibbons, who is blind and understands the workforce challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, gave high praise to the local community and to Goodwill Manasota for the work being done and the partnerships forged in order to change lives through the power of work. He stated that while various disabilities might restrict people from certain career options, there are others where their abilities would be well-matched. “Even though opportunities for those with disabilities may be limited, the capacity of those with disabilities is not,” he said.
Gulfcoast CEO Forum president Steve Hall spoke of his passion for veterans’ affairs. Hall – a veteran and Goodwill supporter instrumental in helping Goodwill to launch a fund to benefit veterans in need earlier this year – said, “Goodwill is an incredible vehicle to support veterans.”
Prior to the moderated panel discussion, Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller shared the key findings of the study, which were gathered through an online survey and telephone interviews [please find some of them at the end of this release].
The program ended with a challenge from moderator Liang to all of those in attendance to take the information from the luncheon back to their own workplaces and make a commitment to do more, and do better when it comes to hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities.
“Charity helps for a little bit but training and education help for a lifetime,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. “Thanks to increased awareness, beneficial legislation and business owners with the vision to give someone who may have been overlooked elsewhere a chance, millions of Americans with disabilities are able to make important contributions to the workplace every day. But we can do better for those who are often overlooked in our community – we just have to want to.”
For more information or to request a copy of the full study, call Goodwill Manasota Foundation vice president Veronica Brandon Miller at (941) 355-2721.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2014, Goodwill Manasota served more than 16,000 people, placed 680 people in jobs and assisted 520 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 39 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.