Goodwill Industries Backs Lincoln Literacy
In Helping New Americans Find Jobs
Lincoln, NE – A yearlong project between Lincoln Literacy and Goodwill Industries Serving Southeast Nebraska, Inc., has helped dozens of New Americans – mainly refugees and other qualified immigrants – to upgrade their job-seeking skills with the goal of accessing services offered by Goodwill Industries at their Job Connection Computer Lab located at the One Stop Career Center in Gold’s Galleria in downtown Lincoln.
Over the year ending in February, the program reached 49 adult Lincoln Literacy students from 11 different countries. Many of them were able to put the new skills they learned to use in finding work. Zam Lian, a refugee from Burma, says of his experience, “I like that class very much because that is very useful and helpful for me. …It is not easy to get the job in United States.” Prior to the class, he added, “I applied many kinds of work, but nobody hired me.”
Even in strong employment markets such as Lincoln, refugees like Lian find it difficult to land jobs, in part because their English language skills are weak but also because they lack knowhow about job-seeking, applying and interviewing, said Lincoln Literacy program coordinator Amanda Hefner. With classroom training supported by Goodwill, Lian got hired and has been working steadily for the past six months.
Participating students from around the world had positive things to say about their experiences, especially noting the helpfulness of both Goodwill and Lincoln Literacy staff. Lincoln Literacy’s Executive Director Clayton Naff observed that without Goodwill’s financial backing and expertise many of the New Americans would remain jobless.
“Goodwill really lives up to their name,” he said. “For years, they have been focusing resources and staff on the most vulnerable people in our community and helping them to get on their feet and into jobs so that they can support themselves and their families. We are really grateful for the support of our programs that Goodwill has extended and for the collaboration in job-preparation in particular over the last year.”
Goodwill Industries has recently affirmed that it will continue its support of Lincoln Literacy’s programs in recognition that those who are literate in the English language today will be employable tomorrow.
About Lincoln Literacy:
Lincoln Literacy is an award-winning United Way organization based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Established in 1972, Lincoln Literacy provides English language and literacy instruction to more than a thousand adults and families living in Lancaster County. Many are refugees and immigrants from around the world. The mission of Lincoln Literacy is to assist people of all cultures and strengthen our community by teaching English language and literacy skills. It does this by recruiting, training and deploying more than 300 community volunteers to work with more than 800 adults and over 300 of their children.