Atlanta is One of Four Cities Nationwide to Participate in New Program
August 6, 2020 — Goodwill of North Georgia is helping young adults with criminal backgrounds in Atlanta transition to new jobs as part of a training program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).The Goodwill LifeLaunch: Ignite reentry program is designed to provide job skills and career training services for those aged 18 to 24 with a past criminal history. Goodwill of North Georgia is one of four Goodwill organizations in the country to offer LifeLaunch: Ignite, along with Goodwills in Louisville, KY; Pittsburgh, PA; and Muskegon, MI.
“Landing job opportunities for people with criminal histories has always been challenging, but never more so than now,” said Keith Parker, president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia. “Given the tough job market due to COVID-19, those in our community looking for a second chance will benefit greatly from LifeLaunch: Ignite.”
The new reentry program will serve approximately 100 local residents with criminal backgrounds between the ages of 18 and 24. A total of 415 young adults will participate across all four cities involved in the program. Goodwill of North Georgia was chosen for the grant based on community need, its experience in reentry and young adult services; and strong partnerships with community colleges, local criminal justice systems and employers.
“We are seeing tremendous disruptions in the job market, both here in Atlanta and across the country,” said Parker. “With the addition of LifeLaunch: Ignite, Goodwill will be able to help many people focused on turning their lives around for the better.”
Each of the four participating cities will have employment training programs that focus on in-demand jobs in local industries. In Atlanta, that includes highway construction, welding and maintenance technicians.
Among the program’s goals are to keep recidivism rates at or below 20 percent, to help 60 percent of participants attain a credential, and to assist for 75 percent of participants to gain measurable skills. Goodwill will track program participants after completion of LifeLaunch: Ignite to accurately measure program success.
The program will operate for approximately 24 months, with a 12-month period for follow-up services. As part of the DOL’s Young Adult Reentry Program, LifeLaunch: Ignite will strengthen Atlanta by helping participants become productive, contributing members of the community; gain long-term, financially sustaining employment; find stable homes; and address any potential substance abuse or mental health needs. The Goodwill LifeLaunch: Ignite Reentry Program is made possible with a $4.5 million grant award from the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration, covering 93 percent of operating costs, from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Goodwill Industries International and the four local Goodwill organizations included in this grant are contributing leveraged funding valued at $324,762 to cover the remaining seven percent of operational costs.
About Goodwill of North Georgia
The mission of Goodwill of North Georgia is to put people to work. The nonprofit has provided services in the region for more than 90 years. In fiscal year 2020, Goodwill of North Georgia provided job training and employment services to 46,697 people and helped 25,019 people find jobs or start new businesses. The organization currently operates 67 stores, 53 attended donation centers and 13 career centers. Revenues generated from Goodwill’s retail program help fund job training and placement programs. For more information about Goodwill of North Georgia, visit GoodwillNG.org.