Goodwill Big Bend Receives State Award for Employment Services

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Tallahassee, FL - October 2, 2012

Today, Goodwill Industries - Big Bend, Inc. was recognized as the best non-profit in Florida providing service-related employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This prestigious award was presented by RESPECT of Florida Executive Director John McBride in conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Through a partnership with RESPECT of Florida, Goodwill maintains seven contracts that employ and train people to do everything from litter clear-up and mowing to airport janitor services. Eighty percent of Goodwill Industries’ workforce is made up of Floridians with a disability.

“Every success we achieve is thanks to our incredible team of employees. It is because of their commitment and hard work that they and Goodwill thrives,” said Fred Shelfer, CEO of Goodwill Industries - Big Bend. “Receiving this honor during National Disability Employment Awareness Month is particularly special because it underscores our important mission to provide job training, education and employment to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.”

Goodwill’s Contract Services has a staff of 34, and 80% of the non-managerial workers have disabilities. Some of the employees have been previously honored by RESPECT of Florida. In 2011, two of the employees received statewide individual awards while working on the janitorial contract at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City — one earning the RESPECT of Florida Rookie of the Year award and the other being honored as the Outstanding Employee of the Year.

“Goodwill Services of the Big Bend has launched a real ‘trailblazing’ contract service program that is building innovative partnerships and effectively serving a host of public agencies and private businesses,” said John McBride, Executive Director of RESPECT of Florida. “They are not just putting Floridians to work, they are also helping Floridians with disabilities in our community maintain their independence and self respect by working at jobs that make a difference.”

RESPECT of Florida works to find employment for people with disabilities and helps Certified Employment Centers throughout the state provide their products and services to government entities. Each year the organization presents awards to deserving non-profit employment services, employees with disabilities and public and private partners that are making a positive impact on the lives of Floridians with disabilities.

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