Goodwill's Good Careers Academy provides affordable training for high-demand jobs with career training programs and new plans for future sites.

In order to find out more, we caught up with Rebecca Helterbrand, vice president of marketing and performance excellence, and Penny Benavidez, director of marketing for Goodwill Industries of San Antonio. They shared some amazing ways Goodwill helps change lives through the power of work:

Question: What is the Good Careers Academy?

Answer: Good Careers Academy is the latest innovation from one of the community's largest health & human services non-profits - Goodwill. The Academies are designed to offer workforce certifications in careers that are growing and offering good incomes. Alamo Colleges partners with Goodwill and they provide the instructors and curriculum. What is unique about this career school is the wrap-around case management services provided by Goodwill. These services, called Good Choices, offer solutions in career, work supports, health & wellness and financial strengthening. Individuals are assessed for their needs, offered solutions and the case manager works with the students to ensure long-term success. The combination of Good Choices with education creates incredible social outcomes for the individual, their families and the community at large.

Question: Where is it located?

Answer: There are three Good Careers Academies locally in San Antonio - I-10 & De Zavala, I-35 & Splashtown, 281 & Bitters - all inside Goodwill facilities. Additionally, just last month, we opened a Good Careers Academy in Laredo, Texas. Goodwill also offers multiple Centers within Goodwill stores where students can be assessed and referred to one of the Academy locations. There's a convenient location near you - simply visit www.goodwillsa.org for a listing of locations, or call 210-924-8581 for details.

Question: What kind of training does the academy offer?

Answer: The Academies offer workforce certifications in demand driven careers, such as Information Technology, Medical and Warehouse/Logistics. There are multiple courses, such as Computer Support Specialist, Medical Front Office, Certified Nurses Aide, Pharmacy Tech and more.

Question: How does Good Careers Training benefit the local economy?

Answer: Each graduate earns an estimated $500,000 more in their lifetime versus not attaining a workforce certification. Estimates reveal that with just a few hundred graduates and only a few Academies, we've already created millions of dollars in economic impact. All estimates reveal that San Antonio will be in desperate need of a highly skilled workforce to meet future needs and this offering is helping to close that predicted gap.

How affordable is the training?

Answer: Courses range from a few hundred dollars to our most involved certifications at $3,000. Scholarships are available. The length of the courses range from as few as eight weeks to eight months. Because the Academies are operated by a trusted non-profit, Goodwill, our goal is a positive social outcome, which allows us to offer low-cost tuition and all the support of a case manager. Training costs are a fraction of what career schools charge and Goodwill has access to funding as a non-profit that gives our students a competitive advantage.

What kind of child care needs are available to students?

Answer: Child care support falls in the work supports services within Good Choices. Since Goodwill is a United Way agency, we have access to many resources to help students with all their needs. We also offer solutions for transportation issues and offer a continuum of solutions under the Good Choices services. Where else can you go to find out if you qualify for a home savings program, access low-cost banking services, receive health screenings and career assessments - all in the same visit?

What's in store for the future of the academy?

Answer: Goodwill plans to continue growing this important facet of its mission to help change lives through the power of work. Over the next three years, additional facilities are planned and the curriculum will continue to expand. Goodwill is proud of the outcomes - over 90% of the students graduate (versus a 38% graduation rate at competitive career schools) and approximately 85% of the graduates are placed into a career. And each individual is then placed on a path to earn $500,000 more in their lifetime!

Each time you donate, shop or think of Goodwill, remember that our mission to help change lives through the power of work is funded by your generous support.

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