Celebrating Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas
Training, Placement, and Life-Skills Program (T-PALS)
Goodwill became our 23rd Community Partner in 2009 when we partnered with them to fund their Training, Placement, and Life-Skills Program (T-PALS). T-PALS provides free job training, placement services, and classes focused on resume writing, interview skills, and job search techniques, as well as beginning, intermediate, and advanced computer classes. The program is a key component of their mission to create Job Opportunities for People with Barriers to Employment.
A History of Job Creation
Goodwill was formed by Rev. Edgar J. Helms in Boston in 1902. The turn of the 20th century was a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty. These troubled times compounded the daily burden of poverty for immigrants, people with disabilities, and unskilled laborers. Rev. Helms stepped in to help these struggling individuals by collecting donated goods from the wealthy areas of town and giving them away to the poor. As time went on, he noticed that he was seeing the same faces again and again. Rev. Helms realized that the traditional approach to charity was not breaking the cycle of poverty; it merely addressed the symptoms, not the underlying causes. Services were needed that would lead people out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency.
So, in the basement of Rev. Helms’ Methodist Church, the first Goodwill Store was born. He hired the people that he had previously offered handouts and gave them jobs repairing and selling the used goods collected. These early employees were the first to benefit from Goodwill’s philosophy, “a hand up, not a hand-out.” His successful beginnings allowed people to earn paychecks, rather than charity, and the resulting independence and pride that come with employment.
Goodwill Industries of Lubbock opened its doors in 1967 with one small workshop and store at 715 28th Street in Lubbock, Texas. In 1967, the organization provided training and employment to 20 disabled staff and program participants. Training included small electronic repair, shoe repair, laundry, furniture repair, including wicker re-caning, and sewing. Program participants provided sub-contract services for “Laundry”, “Cleaning Shop worker”, “Store Clerks”, “Janitors”, and “Warehousemen.” That first year, Goodwill received approximately 3,000 bags of donations and generated approximately $103,000 in revenue.
A Testament to Partnership
United Way initially partnered with Goodwill in 1970 around their mission of job creation. In 1984, the executive committees of United Way and Goodwill met to discuss the future of the partnership. In good faith, the Goodwill board found their organization to be in a healthy financial position and decided not to accept a United Way allocation moving forward. Despite Goodwill no longer being a United Way Community Partner, the two organizations continued a strong relationship. The relationship between the two organizations is a testament to United Way's work to address priority issues, create solutions, and empower organizations and people.
Goodwill's Work Today
In 2019, Goodwill's T-PALS served 836 unduplicated participants through employment training programs provided at no charge to them, 202 were placed into area jobs and more than 1,086 attended specialty training classes through the program.
Throughout the pandemic, Goodwill shifted many of its classes online and added classes on the basics of Zoom and other services that were now becoming commonplace. Their programs were never more important as many on the South Plains found themselves without work or with lost wages. Goodwill continues to remove barriers to job placement for people from a variety of backgrounds.
Learn more about Goodwill and its mission at http://www.goodwillnwtexas.org/