Goodwill Manasota receives grant for financial literacy training
Goodwill Manasota GoodPartner Coach Dana Knuuti (left) with team member Dennis Burton
SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota is proud to not only provide jobs for team members who may have barriers to employment but also offer on-the-clock coaching, training and education to boost employees’ job skills and earning potential. One area of concern for Goodwill is that many team members lack financial literacy skills. To address this issue, the Wells Fargo Foundation has recently awarded a $10,000 grant in support of Goodwill’s efforts to provide financial literacy skills training to its team members, through its GoodPartner Coach program. The funds will pay a portion of the salary of one Goodwill GoodPartner Coach.
Every Goodwill employee is assigned a GoodPartner Coach. These coaches work with team members to do needs assessments to determine barriers to self-sufficiency and identify areas that could be strengthened through training as well as determine access to basic needs such as housing, food and healthcare. Other program elements include helping to write an individualized development plan and offering case management services to address any issues that might be a barrier to their success.
Financial literacy is a key component of the GoodPartner Coach program, with information to help team members become banked, develop a personal budget, guidance on improving credit scores, and even assistance – through its Homebuyer’s Club – for employees seeking to purchase a home for the first time. When emergency financial needs emerge, coaches are able to direct the team member to a resource – whether internal or community-based – to help meet the need.
“Financial education and guidance is an important factor in bringing more people who are unbanked into the formal banking system,” said Jeff Ospina, Wells Fargo Regional Banking Director. “Working with Goodwill Manasota is one important way that we can remove barriers to financial inclusion and help empower people with education, resources and tools to manage their money, improve their credit and achieve their financial goals.”
Coaches assign online financial literacy skills training to employees using Goodwill’s Learning Management System. In-person budgeting classes are also available to those who want more in-depth training.
GoodPartner Coaches also provide training regarding the benefits of filing taxes, utilizing VITA (free tax assistance) sites, and how the Earned Income Tax Credit works. In partnership with United Way Suncoast, Goodwill hosts VITA sites at its offices and trains its coaches to provide support at these sites.
Goodwill utilizes partnerships with local banks, including Wells Fargo, to “train the trainer,” so that its coaches can update their skills regularly and have the most current information regarding community resources and best practices in delivering financial literacy training.
Goodwill Industries-Manasota, Inc. employs over 700 people in the four counties the organization serves: Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Hardee counties. Nearly 70% of these team members have a barrier to self-sufficiency. Examples of barriers include a disability, history of incarceration, those who do not have a high school diploma, are not proficient in English, older workers, at-risk youth, and/or individuals who are homeless.
“Earning a paycheck is just the first step to financial stability. If someone has never learned how to budget or been taught financial literacy, the chances for self-sufficiency are greatly reduced,” said Goodwill Manasota president Donn Githens. “Thanks in part to the grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, our GoodPartner Coach program will continue to work with Goodwill team members so that they can achieve financial stability and get on the path to career and life success.”
For more about Goodwill, visit experiencegoodwill.org.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.