In 2016, Goodwill of North Georgia partnered with Gap Inc. on This Way ONward, an internship program designed to help opportunity youth secure their first jobs. The comprehensive program involves Job Readiness Training (JRT) and on-site job coaching, which has proven critical in the long-term success of the youth placed. One unique feature of the program is the volunteer service offered by Gap Inc. employees who take an active role by assisting with teaching JRT.

Since the program’s inception, 328 interns have participated in the program, about 50% of whom continued their employment at the conclusion of the internship. All sites have been involved, with the exception of Rome and Cartersville. Dozens of Goodwill Intensive Services team members play a role in the success of this program, along with the leadership of program managers from Gap Inc. and their store teams.

Gap Inc. has sought opportunities to promote Goodwill. In December 2018, Goodwill’s This Way ONward team was invited to have one of our This Way ONward interns meet Gap Inc. senior executives who visited Atlanta. Intern Azimrah Alleyne exuded confidence during the gathering, serving as an excellent representative of the outcomes of the partnership. The company also scheduled a day in summer 2018 where monetary donations for Goodwill were solicited at their Atlanta-area stores participating in This Way ONward.

Financially, Gap Inc. has provided an annual base grant along with additional funds per youth served during this five-year partnership. This represents a million-dollar investment in Goodwill and the people served by the agency.

With the changes required in 2020 due to COVID-19, Gap Inc. allowed Goodwill to retain the grant award and further permitted half of the funds to be used at the agency’s discretion for general operations. They have continued to work closely with Goodwill during these unprecedented times to help fulfill the mission of putting people to work. Through virtual job fairs and phone interviews, they offered employment opportunities to nearly 50 individuals, resulting in 43 new placements and five re-placements in 2020.