Goodwill Industries does its part to boost workforce

Goodwill Industries does its part to boost workforce

I read with great interest your recent editorial, “Ohio must move quickly to bolster the workforce,” on Jan. 5.

Ohio does need to act with urgency to expand workforce-development opportunities so that every Ohioan has an opportunity to be employed and so we are able to meet the needs of our employers. This is something that the Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries and Goodwill Industries throughout Ohio focus on every day.

There are 16 autonomous Goodwill Industries throughout Ohio, and we cover all 88 counties. Our collective mission is to assist anyone with a barrier to employment find meaningful work.

Last year, Goodwills in Ohio assisted over 4,200 people secure employment, and we provided almost 700,000 instances of employment-related services such as skill assessments, soft skills, work experience and training.

In Ohio, Goodwill Industries has over 12 different types of social enterprises that provide employment and job experience to the unemployed.

Additionally, Goodwill Industries works with public and educational agencies such as local Ohio Means Jobs Centers, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities and community colleges to provide needed services.

A Jan. 1 story by Marc Kovac quotes Governor Kasich referring to jobs “… if you are poor, disabled, addicted, we’re not going to just ignore you. We’re not going to put our head in the sand. We are going to do what we can to give you a chance at a full life.”

Approximately 85 percent of people served by Goodwill Industries have either a disability or another barrier like those the governor mentioned. Goodwill exists to give all people a chance to excel in the workforce and transition out of poverty.

Emily D. Turner, Columbus

Turner is executive director of the Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries in Columbus.

More transparency sorely needed in Canfield city

Columnist Bertram de Souza should not feel all alone in his quest for government financial transparency in regard to public employees’ wages. Allow me to take this one step further.

Why not include the actual finances of governments? I regularly attend Canfield City Council meetings and have requested that the City Check Register and Cash Basis Fund Summary be placed on the city’s website every month. So far there has been little interest in doing so.

A recently passed charter amendment requires the city staff to report on their area(s) of responsibility. Something as basic as how much is in the General Fund does not get reported. I have asked and am told it will be available at the next meeting. That is not acceptable.

I would expect that this should be common knowledge within the financial staff in attendance. Why does the city leadership not require the staff to be prepared to present meaningful data? Why the stonewalling? Information allows citizens to hold their government accountable. Apparently the city prefers to keep this info to themselves.

City Council claims there is a serious financial shortage for the city. Council just passed pay raises for all city employees. Council just borrowed $500,000 to remodel the police station. The city still owns the Red Gate farm, which costs the city over $130,000 per year and has done so for the last 12 years.

The Canfield citizens recently overwhelming rejected a one-half percent increase in the city income tax.

Perhaps some openness, transparency and financial austerity in regard to the city’s finances would have resulted in a different outcome.

Frank A. Micchia, Canfield

Surviving wives forgotten in new GM-UAW pact

To General Motors and the autoworkers’ union at Lordstown: It is a shame and disgrace how you have treated the surviving spouses of the retired workers. You voted to give the workers a huge signing bonus and a money gift card to the the retirees.

As a recent surviving spouse of one of your retired employees of 28 years, don’t you think we deserve or could have used the extra money?

I know I could have – to help pay the hospital and doctor bills for the last few days of my husband’s life.

You need to think more about these decisions. One day your wife will be a surviving spouse; would you treat her this way?

Helen Garrett, Austintown

Cut gun crime? Start by enforcing existing laws

I am sickened, infuR- rated, and outraged by every mass murder shooting in America. Not only for the devastation it has caused those families, but also the toll it takes on law-abiding gun owners of America.

I am an Endowment Life Member of the NRA. We NRA gun owners have the greatest empathy for the victims of these crimes. Others would paint us as cold, uncaring enablers of gun crime.

If President Obama would pursue the ISIS terrorists with the same vigor that he pursues gun control in our country, we would all be much safer and better served. That we need more gun laws is a cheap emotional diversionary tactic to take our focus off the president’s failure to keep us safe by his Muslim/Islam policies.

The anti-gun organizations are well intended, but are poorly informed. It is natural to cry out for solutions. The solutions are already here. It is the lack of the enforcement and plea bargaining away the penalties we have in place now. For those that have caused most of the mass shootings, more can be done when the medical profession gets on board with the NRA’s 20-year effort to get them to provide a complete national database of the emotionally disturbed individuals most dangerous to themselves and others.

Our gun crime is at a 20-year low, and our country is one of the safest. It’s also geographic. Take out five of our largest crime ravaged cities, with the strictest gun laws in the country, then our homicide rate, per capita, drops to one of the lowest in the world.

Tom Page, Boardman

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