Richmond capital

Virginia Goodwills Visit Capitol Hill

Leaders from Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia joined other Goodwill organizations from Virginia to visit with government leaders and state legislators on Feb. 8. Six Goodwills form the Virginia Goodwill Network (VGN), which collectively helped more than 6,100 individuals facing employment challenges to secure competitive jobs in the community in 2017.

“The leaders and lawmakers that we met recognize Goodwill’s leadership role in workforce development and its ripple effect on social and economic development,” said Charles Layman, president and CEO of Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia. “Our mission puts us on the front lines every day with job seekers who face challenges, and we believe it’s incumbent upon us to provide insight and feedback on legislation that can affect their livelihoods.”

In addition to visiting legislators at the General Assembly, the Goodwill delegation met with Health and Human Resources Secretary Dan Carey, Chief Workforce Advisor Megan Healy, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Carlos Hopkins and Special Advisor to the Governor for Economic Development Brian Ball.

Among the many legislative bills that VGN members consider to be important to the success of job seekers are HB 916 and SB 560, “Long Term Employment Support Services & Extended Employment Services” to codify state programs for workers with disabilities to ensure person-centered employment opportunities.

In addition, VGN supports HB 672 and SB 181 that “Repeals Requirement of Suspension of Driver’s License for Unsatisfied Judgments or Nonpayment of Fines and Costs.” VGN members are concerned that the loss of drivers licenses significantly impacts the ability for people to work, especially those with other barriers to employment, and is counterproductive.

Budget actions VGN supports include the Governor’s proposed $2M per year Workforce Credential Grant Program to increase the number of individuals earning industry credentials or certifications in high-demand fields through Virginia Community Colleges.

The VGN also supports enhancements to the successful Employment for TANF Participants Program by adding $2M each year to expand the applicant pool for programs that move individuals out of poverty to obtaining and retaining competitive employment with the prospect of wage growth.