Goodwill Industries of South Florida serves individuals who face multiple barriers to employment and cannot make the transition to independence on their own. All those we serve have disabilities, some multiple, with 86% living below the poverty level when entering our program. Over 70% of them face acculturation barriers because of their nationality; we serve one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse populations of people with disabilities in America.
Last year, 70% of the people we served referred them-selves to our programs. This underscores the great awareness that exists in our community, especially among people with disabilities, of the availability of Goodwill's programs and services. Seven percent were referred to us from the State Vocational Rehabilitation Division and the rest from numerous other organizations.
Vocational Rehabilitation is the core of Goodwill's programs, offering a continuum of services designed to help the individuals develop their maximum human potential, overcome barriers to employment and move resolutely toward their goal of independence.
Upon entering the program, participants undergo an assessment to determine their potential and chart a path to independence. Work Activities and Work Adjustment Training assist in minimizing the negative impacts of the disability. Vocational Training in six different skill areas, provided by certified teachers, assists those able to learn more challenging skills. Work Services is one of four entrepreneurial divisions that assist participants in learning skills, gaining confidence, building their self-esteem and overcoming barriers to employment-all while receiving a paycheck from Goodwill. All services are provided under the guidance of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. The Job Placement Department helps the participants reach their ultimate goal of competitive community employment.