Latest News

Senate Workforce Committee hears presentation from Goodwill Industries of Kanawha Valley

By Autumn Shelton, West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  The Senate Workforce Committee heard a presentation from Goodwill Industries on Friday, where they discussed the work that is being done to decrease barriers and help state residents find jobs. 

Before the presentation began, Committee Chair Sen. Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh, announced that SB 562 will appear on an upcoming agenda, with a committee substitute.

SB 562 would expand employment and training requirements necessary for SNAP benefits. 

Following the brief announcement, Megan Diehl, vice president of brand management for Goodwill Industries of Kanawha Valley was the first to speak. 

“Goodwill Industries of Kanawha Valley has a 20 county area in the state of West Virginia. We are the Goodwill with the largest West Virginia footprint. Last year alone, we served over 2,600 West Virginians through the power of work.”

Diehl explained that Goodwill helps individuals with career training and placement as well as resume building and empowerment programs. 

Diehl introduced Dustin McDonald, who went through the Goodwill program in Parkersburg and now has the “job of his dreams.” 

According to McDonald, he was adopted by his aunt and uncle and grew up in Ritchie County. 

By the age of 16, he had lost both of his adoptive parents, had his first child and dropped out of school. 

“After losing both of my parents, I fell on hard times. I really struggled with drugs and alcohol,” McDonald said, adding that addiction soon took over his life. 

“It was a really low and sad point of my life,” McDonald stated. 

However, he did make the decision that he wanted to do better, McDonald said, so he entered the addiction treatment program at St. Joseph Recovery Center where he eventually became involved with Goodwill services. 

“After I finished up at St. Joseph’s, I went to their offices and I started the Goodwill soft skills class . . . and then I started their 90-day paid training program,” McDonald said. 

He was able to get a job in healthcare, and, ultimately, found his way back to St. Joseph Recovery Center – only this time as an employee. 

“I am able to help people and guide them and show them that there is a better way of life,” McDonald said, noting that in addition to helping him land his dream job, Goodwill also helped him with housing and transportation needs. 

“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that without Goodwill and everybody that’s on the team there.” 

Following his presentation, Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, told McDonald he should be proud of what he has accomplished. 

“Hopefully others will hear your story and know that they too have hope,” Caputo said. “We as legislators gotta find ways to support wraparound services to make sure that when people need support, they want to help themselves, that services are available.” 

Sen. Roberts added, “What you are talking about is something we are trying to accomplish with thousands of West Virginians. We have such a great crisis that we’ve been doing all sorts of things trying to remedy, but we haven’t had good success. But, there’s nothing that speaks of success more than your story, and I’m glad that you were willing to share that today.” 

Danial Gum, vice president of brand management for Goodwill Industries, then spoke about Mission Mobile. 

“We have two brick and mortar locations, one here in Charleston as well as one in Parkersburg,” Gum said. “Those centers are where we perform our services out of. They are fully virtual as well so we can service the entire region.” 

Gum said that because not everyone has reliable internet, Goodwill developed the Mission Mobile Unit. 

“It is a 20 ft. RV mobile classroom,” Gum said, explaining that it has space inside for eight individuals as well as an outdoor space with internet access.

He said the unit goes out multiple times every week into traditionally under-served areas to “meet people where they are.” 

Additionally, Gum mentioned the Wheels to Work program, which helps people secure reliable vehicles, and said Goodwill programs primarily serve those living under the federal poverty level. 

“Just in January alone, we served 40 individuals under the SNAP/EBT program, and we are in talks next week –  will be meeting with the DHHR to discuss becoming the state intermediary.”

“We have interest in promoting the process for individuals, teaching other individuals how to do what we do effectively, and making sure that individuals under the SNAP program really get the best service and have truly achieved their living wage,” Gum said. “We are trying to make sure that, as things progress, we are making sure that individuals are placed in a job that best suits their needs.” 

Gum said that Goodwill is largely self-funded through its network of thrift stores and is able to handle additional students. 

“As we get more students, we will hire up,” Gum said. “That’s not an issue for us at all. We are a very successful organization.” 

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

And get our latest content in your inbox

Invalid email address