Pittsburgh is One of Four Cities Nationwide to Participate in New Program

Pittsburgh, December 9, 2020 — Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is helping young adults that are currently or have been justice system involved and reside within Allegheny County, Pennsylvania transition to new jobs as part of a training program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The Goodwill LifeLaunch: Ignite reentry program is designed to provide job skills and career training services for those aged 18 to 24 with a past criminal history.  Goodwill SWPA is one of four Goodwill organizations in the country to offer LifeLaunch: Ignite, along with Goodwills in Atlanta, GA; Louisville, KY; and Muskegon, MI.

“Landing job opportunities for people with criminal histories has always been challenging, but never more so than now,” said Tiffanee Heywood, Director of Youthworks at Goodwill SWPA.  “Given the tough job market due to COVID-19, those in our community looking for a second chance will benefit greatly from LifeLaunch: Ignite.”

The new reentry program will serve 105 Allegheny County residents between the ages of 18 and 24 who have been involved with in the criminal justice system. A total of 415 young adults will participate across all four cities involved in the program. Goodwill SWPA was chosen for the grant based on community need, its experience in reentry and young adult services; and strong partnerships with community colleges, local criminal justice systems and employers.

“We are seeing tremendous disruptions in the job market, both here in Pittsburgh and across the country,” said Heywood. “With the addition of LifeLaunch: Ignite, Goodwill will be able to help many young adults focused on turning their lives around for the better.”

Each of the four participating cities will have employment training programs that focus on in-demand jobs in local industries.

Among the program’s goals are to keep recidivism rates at or below 20 percent, to help 60 percent of young adults attain a credential, and 60 percent obtain employment or enter post-secondary education upon program completion. Goodwill will track program participants after completion of LifeLaunch: Ignite to measure accurately program success.

The program will operate for approximately 24 months, with a 12-month period for follow-up services. As part of the DOL’s Young Adult Reentry Program, LifeLaunch: Ignite will strengthen Pittsburgh by helping participants become productive, contributing members of the community; gain long-term, financially sustaining employment; find stable homes; and address any potential substance abuse or mental health needs.

Young adults who want more information or want to enroll in the program can contact Whitney Miles at 412-632-1742 or e-mail:  whitney.miles@goodwillswpa.org.

The Goodwill LifeLaunch: Ignite Reentry Program is made possible with a $4.5 million grant award from the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration, covering 93 percent of operating costs, from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. Goodwill Industries International and the four local Goodwill organizations included in this grant are contributing leveraged funding valued at $324,762 to cover the remaining seven percent of operational costs.

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



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.; Goodwill Housing; and Mission Logistics, LLC. The agency operates 33 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. In 2019, Goodwill SWPA demonstrated the following outcomes: 10,624 adults and youth served, 582 individual placements of participants into unsubsidized employment; and 1,575 persons employed directly by Goodwill SWPA. These factors resulted in $109,500,000 of economic output during the year.


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