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PHOTO COURTESY GOODWILL INDUSTRIES EMPLOYEES AND MENTORS — Two of the first employees to sign up for the prepaid tuition program are shown with some of the prosperity planners. From left are Hector Perez-Segnini, a prosperity planner; Luis Diaz, program participant; Odalys Simmons, prosperity planning manager; Sheena Reed, program participant; and David Watson, another prosperity planner. With the help of this program, Diaz is pursuing a psychology degree at the University of Central Florida and Reed will attend Valencia College to pursue a degree in photography. The prosperity planners are team members who specialize in financial and career goal strategies.

Goodwill Industries of Central Florida has unveiled a major financial benefit available to all its 1,200 employees across its six-county service area, including Volusia, according to a news release.

Earlier this month at Goodwill Industries’ headquarters in Orlando, President and CEO Ed Durkee publicly announced a new Tuition Scholarship Program. The prepaid tuition program will cover the cost of college or vocational school for all its employees who want a degree or career certification.

Statistics show that two out of five college students drop out of school for financial reasons. With this and other reasons in mind, this new program will allow all part- and full-time Goodwill employees with at least 90 days of continuous employment to be eligible to have 100 percent of their tuition, books and other fees covered in advance, rather than being reimbursed after the fact.

“We want our employees to be trained to be successful at their jobs — and we want their jobs to help them accomplish the goals they desire in life,” Durkee said in a news release. “We believe that the cost of education should not stand in the way of those aspirations, so we intend to provide employees with the financial pathway to achieve a degree or skilled trade.”

PHOTO COURTESY GOODWILL INDUSTRIES
ANNOUNCING THE NEW PROGRAM — Goodwill Industries President and CEO Ed Durkee, speaking at the nonprofit’s headquarters in Orlando, announces that the agency is starting a prepaid tuition program to cover the cost of college or vocational school for all employees who want a degree or career certification.

Those who are interested in the program will be paired with a prosperity planner — a Goodwill team member who specializes in financial and career goal strategies — to help develop an individualized action plan and provide one-on-one coaching.

Employees in the program will have to enroll at a Florida public college/university, accredited technical college or trade school, and maintain a passing grade of “C” or its equivalent.

The nonprofit already has about 80 employees who have expressed interest in the program. Each is working with a prosperity planner to pursue their education goals, the release said.

The new prepaid tuition program embodies Goodwill’s mission of “building lives that work,” and — in addition to a generous, best-in-class benefits package — it serves as an incentive to attract new employees, the release said.

Currently, GICF employs more than 1,200 individuals across Orange, Osceola, Lake, Brevard, Seminole and Volusia counties — including about 65 in West Volusia — and has job openings in various departments, including retail, warehouse, transportation, human resources and information technology.

Anyone interested in working at Goodwill should fill out an application at www.GoodwillCFL.org and monitor the organization’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for announcements about upcoming hiring events.

For more than 60 years, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida has provided vocational and job-placement services to tens of thousands of people living in Central Florida.

Through 30 retail/outlet stores — including one each in DeLand and Orange City — and 20 Donation Xpress locations in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Volusia counties, Goodwill diverted 18.9 million pounds of clothing and household items from landfills in 2021.

Goodwill Industries of Central Florida directly channels more than 90 percent of its annual revenue into programs that enable individuals to secure meaningful employment, achieve their personal goals and thrive economically.

Learn more at www.GoodwillCFL.org.

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