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

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 6, 2015 – Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania will celebrate the accomplishments of 15 individuals at a combined graduation ceremony on Thursday, October 8, 6:30 pm, at its Workforce Development Center (WDC) in Lawrenceville. Among those to be honored are eight graduates of the GED® preparation and testing program conducted by the Goodwill Literacy Initiative (GLI), two new U.S. citizens, and four graduates of the Goodwill Employment Training Center (GETC).

Speaking on behalf of the class at the ceremony will be graduate Tia Batemon.  Ms. Batemon started GED classes at the GLI site in McKees Rocks while she was working two jobs. With a goal of providing a better life for her son, she attended class around her work schedule, studied outside of class, then finally took and passed her GED test. Additionally, she helped two of her classmates obtain employment.  Two days after earning her GED credential, she enrolled in Kaplan Career Institute to achieve her goal of becoming a Medical Office Assistant.  

The Keynote Speaker for the ceremony will be Denise Buice, an Employment Specialist at Goodwill SWPA. Ms. Buice graduated from the GETC in 2004, and was hired by Goodwill SWPA soon after receiving her diploma.  Ms. Buice’s GETC education also proved to be a springboard for continued pursuit of higher education.  She received her associate’s degree from CCAC in  2011, her bachelor’s degree from Geneva College in 2013, and is currently in the Professional Counseling master’s program at Carlow University.    

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 a 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.  

“All of our recent graduates have worked very, very hard to get where they are today.” said Judy Martier, Director of Education, Assessment and Training. “We know that they will move on to even greater successes and we are proud to honor them at this ceremony because of what they have done thus far to overcome barriers and meet their goals.”

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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