CONTACT: David J. Tobiczyk, Vice President, Marketing & Development, 412-632-1942 or david.tobiczyk@goodwillswpa.org

PITTSBURGH, April 16, 2015 – Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania will celebrate the accomplishments of 13 individuals at a combined graduation ceremony on Thursday, April 23, at its Workforce Development Center (WDC) in Lawrenceville.  Wearing caps and gowns and marching to “Pomp and Circumstance” before an audience of family, friends, staff and guests, 11 graduates of the GED® preparation and testing program conducted by the Goodwill Literacy Initiative (GLI), and two new U.S. citizens will be honored.

Speaking of behalf of the graduating class at the ceremony will be GED recipient Christinia Chapman.  Ms. Chapman knew she needed an education in order to make a successful future for herself, so she began exploring programs when she moved to the Pittsburgh area. When she came across Goodwill’s RISE program, the additional vocational training she could receive while studying for her GED intrigued her.  Three months later, Ms. Chapman obtained her GED credential, and after only five months at RISE, she earned her facilities maintenance certificate. She is now seeking employment within the field of facilities maintenance. 

Christopher Roman, Goodwill Literacy Initiative Instructor, will be this year’s Keynote Speaker. Mr. Roman has been with Goodwill since 2003 and has instructed hundreds of students in their pursuit of a GED.  He will share his experiences and advice with the graduates.

The GLI offers computer-based GED testing and free classes covering skills needed to pass the GED tests and to help people transition into jobs or post-secondary education. All candidates for the GED credential are welcome to take the test on computer at the Goodwill WDC testing center regardless of whether they have taken the preparation classes through Goodwill. The Citizenship program offered by the GLI assists students preparing for the U.S. naturalization test.  

“We are extremely proud of the graduates of these two programs,” said Judy Martier, Director of Education, Assessment and Training. “They all have faced various adversities in their lives and all of them have worked hard to overcome challenges and achieve their educational goals. They have the determination and confidence to move on to even greater successes.”

Information about GED testing and all of the education programs offered by Goodwill is available at www.goodwillswpa.org/education

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About Goodwill SWPA 

Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is a diversified human service agency that is supported, in part, by its network of retail stores and other nonprofit businesses. It serves all of southwestern Pennsylvania and manages several affiliate units and special-purpose entities, including Goodwill of Fayette County; Goodwill of North Central West Virginia; Goodwill Commercial Services, Inc.; and Goodwill Housing. Goodwill SWPA operates 31 retail stores and several other businesses to help fund programs and to provide job training and related services to help clients overcome various barriers to employment. It has over 1,100 employees and in 2014 provided services to over 53,000 individuals. 

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