How Goodwill Central Texas carries on MLK, Jr.’s legacy
By Guest Blogger, DeWayne Street
Vice President, Workforce Advancement at Goodwill Central Texas
“But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists…”
These are the words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968, as he prepared for the Poor People’s Campaign March on Washington D.C. These words are as salient today as they were almost fifty years ago, and serve as one of the pillars of Goodwill Central Texas’ Workforce Advancement service delivery model.
Workforce Advancement (WFA) is firmly focused on employment to transform lives, families, and our community. By providing our program participants with a career pathway – not just a job – we are putting them in a position to end their economic, educational, and societal marginalization. They will have the opportunity to experience life, liberty, and to pursue happiness in ways that they otherwise would not have been able to experience. Our work is in keeping with the spirit and mission of Dr. King, and in these challenging economic times is very much needed.
In the wake of the great recession, this work is even more critical today as many people struggle to secure employment, especially middle skills employment. The services that WFA delivers to program participants in Central Texas include career case management, individual career planning, career advancement training, wrap around services such as transportation and housing assistance, and counseling services. By doing so, we are providing new talent pipelines for area businesses, increasing opportunities for career pathways.
All our services have one overarching goal: generating lifelong connections to work. By creating these connections, we are continuing Dr. King’s work of ending poverty through gainful employment. Financial freedom and stability is derived from having a career as opposed to simply having a job, and Dr. King devoted the final days of his life to this issue. It is now up to us to continue to carry his mission forward so that generational marginalization and poverty are reduced here in Central Texas. We are truly lifting families out of poverty and creating generational change. We hope Dr. King would be proud of our efforts.