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Dividends Of Goodwill: A Report On Self-Help For The Handicapped
There's an ex-cowboy from Texas with limited vision who found Goodwill the channel through which he got back into the life he loved. He had to quit the range when his sight failed, came to Goodwill where his confidence in himself was restored, and then found a job as foreman of a ranch.
The people write letters, too, like the little old lady in the Southern city. She says, "I was so despondent because I couldn't find work. At times it seemed life was not worth while. My age handicapped me wherever I applied. Now I am busy, self-supporting, and happy, all because Goodwill Industries gave me a chance."
These are some of the stories; there are many more. All are stories of success that outrank any in business or social worlds, because the disabled people who overcome their handicaps have a longer climb to success.
Many times these success stories do not end with employment in the Goodwill Industries itself; for the handicapped people often step into completely normal occupational lives. When a worker is fitted by Goodwill employment for a job in commercial business or industry or to handle a small business of his own, and the person is so placed, the ultimate goal of Goodwill training is reached.
The turnover of employees each year shows that many success stories end with normal occupational lives. During 1943, the average number of handicapped working in all Goodwill plants was between 5,000 and 6,000 per day. Records show, however, that a total of about 23,000 people were on payrolls throughout the year, indicating that between 17,000 and 18,000 handicapped people move from Goodwill employment to other opportunities.
A large number of handicapped workers have gone into war production jobs during the past year. Of more than 10,000 which records show found other jobs or were placed in outside employment, at least 5,000 are estimated to have gone into war industries. The others replaced manpower losses caused by the war. The ones who left naturally were the less severely handicapped.
As a result of, this change in Goodwill personnel, it has been possible to broaden programs for human rehabilitation. Opportunities have been opened for the more severely handicapped. Some nearly unbelievable situations have been reported of people becoming successful workers despite severe handicaps. Many Goodwill Industries report the extension of work opportunities to be the most significant aspect of their activities in the past year.
The handicapped also have been given opportunities to assume greater responsibilities in Goodwill plants. Manpower losses in Goodwill have taken away most of the non-handicapped people, who were usually in supervisory positions.
Additional training and service is needed because of the employment of more seriously handicapped workers. Training programs to fit them for jobs have been instituted, sometimes in conjunction with local or state government agencies. Service programs have been broadened to include additional personnel direction, therapeutic service, medical assistance, recreational facilities and others wherever possible.
Some Goodwill Industries have served homebound handicapped persons for years, but a number have added this service during the past year. Such service has been possible principally where Industries have simple sorting projects or other work projects of that nature. Although the past year has been a period of high employment and heavy demand for labor, it has been significant that Sheltered Workshops retained their normal place in society. Cases frequently are reported of handicapped people who tried outside employment but were unable to keep up the pace in commercial industry and came back to Goodwill jobs. Even in war production centers, where it was expected that larger proportions of workers would find other employment, this has been true.
Case histories, human experiences and factual records show how Goodwill pays dividends to men. The handicapped in society find many values in their Goodwill employment; and society, too, gains from those values. They are deep and lasting; they indicate a need for service that provides more than material things of life. With this in view, Goodwill today looks ahead to tomorrow.
. . .Today and Tomorrow. . .
FORTY years of operation through ever-changing times, changing needs and changing responsibilities have tested the organization of Goodwill Industries.
The average Goodwill plant today is far different from the enterprise that started in the Morgan Memorial Settlement in the South End of Boston in 1902. Today an average plant has a hundred handicapped workers, functions with a building of three or four stories, has several stores as outlets for goods, and has a valuation of about $100,000.
Goodwill Industries range in size from small quarters in a store building and having assets of $2,000 to huge enterprises with thousands of square feet of building and store space, and assets of nearly a million dollars.