Rewarding initiative and overcoming employment barriers by teaching both work skills and life skills, Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania's Reentry through Industry Specific Education Project, or RISE, is a program that a nation increasingly dependent on government needs.
With 14 of its first 18 graduates employed, RISE now is recruiting its second class of students from targeted neighborhoods who have physical or mental disabilities, criminal records, low-income or low-education backgrounds or lack computer know-how. They'll receive eight to 10 weeks of free, Home Builders Institute-certified training at Goodwill's facility on Pittsburgh's South Side.
Classes in carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, brick masonry, landscaping, facilities management, painting, “green” building and weatherization take a 70-percent “hands on” approach. Equally important are lessons in resume writing and dress and deportment for job interviews and the workplace.
A Pennsylvania CareerLink site administrator is involved. But Project RISE is an example of a nongovernmental agency — nonprofit Goodwill — taking the lead to help disadvantaged potential workers secure a career-ladder foothold toward self-sufficiency instead of relying on taxpayer-funded entitlements.
Hopefully, Project RISE will be able to assist all eligible students who want to pursue their own American dreams, maximizing its benefits for not just its graduates, their employers and communities but for society as a whole.