PITTSBURGH, March 1, 2021 -- Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania announced the winners of its 2021 Power of Work Awards, which honors businesses that are opening their doors and improving the lives of people with disabilities and/or other challenges by offering them work or work-related experiences. Selected from over 30 nominees, the winners are:

HIRE Category Winners

Giant Eagle, Inc.  – Giant Eagle Inc. is more than just food, fuel, and convenience. They are a giant family of diverse and talented Team Members and valuing employment of all people, skills and abilities. In the past year, they have hired nine Goodwill candidates from six Goodwill programs. One of the hires was a participant in Goodwill’s UPMC Project SEARCH program who was hired into a position in the floral department. As she learned the position it became evident that some of the tasks were more than she could handle physically due to her height, and that continuing in the position might put her safety at risk. To accommodate her, Giant Eagle identified other tasks for her to do that are very suited to her friendly and outgoing personality, while allowing her to continue doing some of the original tasks that she enjoyed and that she could do safely. With these adjustments, she has been very successful in her new position.

Surge Staffing – Surge is a national leader with over 50 years of experience providing quality staffing and innovative workforce solutions, and their commitment went above and beyond, especially during a pandemic. Since May of 2020, Surge Staffing has conducted monthly hiring events and hired well over 140 people who were recently incarcerated.  They eliminated many of the disqualifications making it possible for individuals with criminal backgrounds and little work history to make starting wages of $15 an hour. Many of those individuals had no money or resources for work necessities such as transportation. Surge Staffing recognized this barrier and started a unique partnership where the owner of one of their larger clients would use his own personal “Steeler Party Bus” to go pick up candidates at the nearest bus stop and bring them to work every morning.

HELP Category Winners

Bethel Bakery – Bethel Bakery, founded by Morris and Anna Walsh, first opened its doors in 1955. Together, the couple built the boutique bakery into one of the busiest and most beloved purveyors of high-quality baked goods in western Pennsylvania.  During a very busy fourth quarter season (and during the COVID pandemic), Bethel Bakery immediately accepted a young adult from Goodwill’s Transition Services Department and exposed him to the internal workings of the bakery. It was evident from the start that Bethel Bakery’s staff were invested in his success and did not bring preconceived expectations about what the student might be able to do, as they focused on his abilities and not his disability. Each employee has graciously trained and supported him, instantaneously making him a part of the team. Soon after, they officially made him part of the team by offering him a permanent position. Every day the young man raves on how he just loves his job and all the people at the bakery.

 

Styling By Chi – Styling By Chi is a Fashion Styling and Image Consulting company that aims to heal, and inspire through the art of fashion and style. Styling By Chi aims to make everyone of every shape, size, disability and illness feel their best because they deserve to. Chi styles those with mental and physical disabilities by providing them with free styling services and clothing.  Chi has also worked with Goodwill by hosting styling sessions at various stores. Through her guest styling services she has had the opportunity to style adults, children and families. Chi says, “Working with children with autism is special for me. Before a styling session I do research and look at colors and sensory. It’s about how does the fabric feel, is it comfortable, and how does the fabric make you feel.” Chi’s philanthropic drive is what sets her aside as a stylist, business owner, and woman. In Chi’s words, “I believe everyone deserves to feel good and look good no matter what life has thrown their way. I provide free clothing, encouragement, and tips to these individuals as well in hopes of changing their lives one look at a time.”

The winners of the 2021 Power of Work Awards will be honored at a virtual ceremony on April 9, 2021 at 2:00 pm.  Participating in the event, along with Goodwill clients and representatives of the winning organizations, will be Robert I. Glimcher, President, Glimcher Group and honorary chairperson of the 2021 Power of Work Awards, and Bill Flanagan, Chief Corporate Relations Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, emcee.

This year’s awards ceremony marks the 24th year for the recognition program. Goodwill created the Power of Work Awards program in 1997 to acknowledge employers and organizations that make a major, positive impact on the lives of people with barriers to employment by providing employment opportunities and support programs. More than 60 different employers and organizations have won the award.

This event is free to attend. Register to watch online at www.goodwillswpa.org/powerofwork. For questions about the Power of Work Awards contact Gabi Lloyd at 412-632-1931 or gabi.lloyd@goodwillswpa.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: David J. Tobiczyk, Vice President, Marketing & Development, 412-760-0348 or david.tobiczyk@goodwillswpa.org

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About Goodwill SWPA

(www.goodwillswpa.org; facebook.com/goodwillswpa; twitter.com/gwswpa; instagram.com/goodwillswpa)

Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is a diversified nonprofit human service agency that serves southwestern Pennsylvania and north central West Virginia and manages several affiliate units and special-purpose entities, including Goodwill Commercial Services, Inc. and Mission Logistics, LLC. The agency operates 34 retail stores and several other businesses to help fund programs and to provide job training, education and related services to help people overcome employment barriers. Last year, Goodwill SWPA served 13,647 adults and youth, including 3,809 virtually, while employing 1,200 people. These factors resulted in $71,615,000 of economic output during the year.

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