Governor Ned Lamont and State Representative Steve Stafstrom today visited Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut’s Bridgeport campus to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted the nonprofit’s programs and services, and how CARES Act funding has supported the organization during these challenging times.
“We were delighted to host Governor Lamont and for the opportunity to share with him the depth and breadth of our services,” Jeff Wieser, President & CEO, Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut said. “With a mission rooted in employment, we know that Goodwill’s programs are vital for residents right now, and we appreciate the Governor recognizing the role we can play in helping get Connecticut back to work.”
“Goodwill is a tremendous resource to our residents while we continue to manage the impact of the pandemic,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “We are proud to have distributed $125 million to area nonprofits, like Goodwill, who exist to help people get jobs to support their families, and there’s not a more significant time to help people get those jobs than now. I really thank Goodwill for all the work they are doing here in Connecticut.”
"Goodwill is providing essential career services at a time when record numbers of Connecticut residents need that support," said Representative Steve Stafstrom. "Something as simple as shopping at a Goodwill retail store can help fund these essential services and make a positive impact on the community."
Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut operates seven Career Centers and 21 retail stores throughout Connecticut in addition to providing a swath of human services programming. Proceeds from the retail stores fund the organization’s career services, which are offered to CT residents at no cost. During the first wave of COVID-19 in Connecticut, Goodwill pivoted to increase the availability of its virtual career services. And, while the temporary closure of its retail stores had a staggering financial impact, the generosity of donors who dropped off goods through a contactless donation system was overwhelming.
“While increasing the availability of virtual career services allowed us to support many individuals during the pandemic, we realize there are individuals without internet access and cell phones who rely on in-person services,” Wieser said. “Goodwill is committed to being a resource for all job seekers and we continue to look for innovative ways to ensure that everyone who relies on us has the access that they need.”
Goodwill’s Career Centers are currently open for in-person services with capacity limits and social distancing measures in place. Additionally, individuals seeking help with resumes, cover letters and interview skills can schedule one-on-one assistance through Goodwill’s virtual services, by visiting: www.gwct.org/virtual-services. All 21 retail stores have reopened with extensive health and safety precautions in place.
Funding from the CARES Act provided Goodwill the ability to reopen programs, services, and stores on a more flexible basis, supporting stability to Team Members through an increase of business continuity pay and extending furloughs.
ABOUT GOODWILL OF WESTERN AND NORTHERN CONNECTICUT
Goodwill is a non-profit organization that helps individuals, businesses, and communities come together to support people with disabilities, economic disadvantages, and other barriers to employment. Last year, Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut (GWNC) helped 2,766 Connecticut residents find work. And, in 2018, one out of every 275 hires in the US were the result of services provided by Goodwill. Donations of goods and revenue generated from store sales power this mission, with more than 90% reinvested into the programs and services strengthening Connecticut families. GWNC is headquartered in Bridgeport, Conn., and has store, donation, and career center locations around the state. To learn more, visit: www.gwct.org.
PHOTO CAPTION: (left to right) State Representative Steve Stafstrom, Governor Ned Lamont and Jeff Wieser, President & CEO, Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut, pictured during a tour of Goodwill’s Bridgeport retail store.