What Does Goodwill Really Do?



Goodwill’s Mission is to strengthen communities by empowering individuals and families through Education, Training and Job Placement.  That is why Goodwill exists in our community.  That is why there are Retail Stores…the stores not only fund these programs, but also provide jobs.


Often the first step to finding a job is understanding your skills, interests, and abilities. That’s what the Goodwill Career Centers can help you with.  Once you have an understanding of your strengths, you can begin thinking about the career track that’s best for you. We have specialists who work with you to understand your prior experience as well as your job and career goals.

You can meet face-to-face at a Goodwill near you or visit our virtual community online. Together we’ll design a strategy to bring your plans to life, while connecting you with other community resources, like housing, reliable transportation, and childcare.

Every 38 seconds of each business day someone earns a job with Goodwill’s help.

Every eight seconds another person accesses Goodwill opportunities to build their career and strengthen their family. You can be next!


There are several programs to help you take your first step to a career. Community Career Centers bring services to both individuals and businesses. We host Job Fairs and Hiring Events for employers and assist individuals in the job search process. Resume writing, interview preparation, and development workshops are just a few of the free services that are made available to the community.

Goodwill Works opens a pathway to our complete employee development courses and work experience. This service is open to anyone seeking personal development when entering the workforce. Whether an individual has a gap in employment, little or no experience, or is seeking to learn new skills, this program can be beneficial.

To join the program, an individual can be referred by a Community Career Center Manager.

Ability First services allow Goodwill staff to walk alongside individuals and employers as they address the unique challenges of employment for persons with cognitive or physical barriers.  This is accomplished by providing any needed job coaching, job training, advocacy or assistance with situations that may arise in the new position. The length of personal assistance is dependent upon the needs of both the individual and the employer.

To find out how Ability First can meet the employment needs of people with disabilities, contact your local Vocational Rehabilitation Services Office.

2nd Chance @ Work provides a fresh start for those who have been incarcerated. We believe that anyone who wants to go to work deserves a chance, and we understand the challenges people face when they are looking for employment.  Whether an individual has been incarcerated, is under employed or has been out of work for some time, we are here to assist. With this in mind we offer focused services for men, women and young adults who are committed to getting their lives back on track.

For more information, call Goodwill at 574-472-7300 or obtain a referral through your probation or parole officer.

*Currently available in Elkhart, Lake, LaPorte, and St. Joseph Counties.


Out of School Youth is provided through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). For youth ages 16-24, the program provides services beginning with career exploration and guidance.  It offers continued support for educational attainment, opportunities for skills training in in-demand industries and occupations; and the program culminates with a good job along a career pathway.

For more information, call WorkOne at 219-344-1013.

*Currently available in Lake, LaPorte, and Portage Counties

Nurse Family Partnership pairs first-time parents with caring maternity and child health nurses who deliver the support moms need to have a healthy pregnancy. A Goodwill Case Manager insures child medical care until age 2, and case management for parents until age 5. Mothers also receive assistance with finding good jobs so they can support their children.

For more information, call 219-444-2000 or visit https://www.nursefamilypartnership.org/.

*Currently available in Lake County.

Goodwill Success Story Cynthia – Making the Most of Her Second Chance

We want to introduce you to Cynthia, who graduated from Goodwill’s Second Chance Program.  One simple promise that she kept changed her life.

Here is Cynthia’s success story, in her own words:

Cynthia, a Goodwill Success Story

“I had a good childhood; some may even say I was spoiled.

As a teenager I started to rebel against my parents and would sneak out to experiment with alcohol. I started to spin downward and at age 15 I was expelled from school due to a chain of events from fighting to skipping school. After having 2 babies very young and years being in an abusive relationship, I found myself addicted to prescription drugs. It got to the point that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I hit rock bottom and was eventually arrested.

I had nowhere to go and had burnt all of my bridges with my family and friends.

On July 7, 2015, I made the first promise that I would keep in years. I told my mother I would get help. I went to a halfway house and was referred to Goodwill. When I started, I didn’t like myself and had no self-respect. I stayed at Goodwill until I had to face my past and was sentenced to prison.

While there, I entered a program called GRIP (Guiding Rage Into Power) and I did everything I could to work on myself with counselors. I was tired of running; and we dealt with issues from my past.

When I was released, I came to Goodwill to start fresh and begin a new journey.

Goodwill gave me opportunities and helped me make the right decisions.  Through the Second Chance Program, I learned how to make sure I got to work on time and to manage my personal life so that it didn’t interfere with my job.  They also taught me how to budget my money.  I came to Goodwill to start fresh and begin a new journey.  I was tired of running and needed to deal with the issues of my past.

Today I can stand before everyone and say that I love myself.”

Cynthia, we are so proud of you and admire your hard work!  

Congratulations on your success!

Goodwill Success Story – Joseph Johnson

Goodwill Industries of Michiana’s 2nd Chance @ Work Program provides individuals with barriers to employment with an opportunity to re-purpose their lives.

Those involved in the program include ex-offenders.  These individuals need tools to achieve their employment and life goals. The intense classroom and hands-on training have been helpful to the success of our clients.

Recently a client, Joseph Johnson, received job placement in the community at MTI (Manufacturing Technology Incorporated). His goal upon entry to his present job was to apply his knowledge of welding. Since his start date (over 2 months ago) he has quickly risen from a position of general laborer to machine operator.

Thank you MTI and congratulations, Joseph!

If you would like to help those in our community by donating to Goodwill, visit our Donation Page to make your contribution.