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Microsoft recently announced that Goodwill Industries of East Texas was chosen as One of 50 Organizations to Participate in Microsoft
Program to Accelerate Job Training and Digital Skills in the Black and African American Community
TYLER, TX – On Dec. 17, 2020 – Goodwill Industries of East Texas was named among the recipients of a 3-year $300,000 grant and participation in Microsoft Corp.’s competitive community skills grant program to support professional skills development programs for underserved communities.
Goodwill Industries of East Texas was one of 50 selected grantees to receive a multi-year unrestricted cash grant, plus leadership development opportunities from industry experts to strengthen Goodwill’s networks and support the professional development of Goodwill of East Texas existing or budding entrepreneurs.
Additionally, Goodwill will receive technology enablement support from Microsoft, which will provide software and digital consulting services, to support the organization’s digital transformation for improved technological capacity.
Kimberly B. Lewis, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of East Texas said, “Microsoft’s commitment to the African American community aligns perfectly with our vision to empower underserved members of our community. These funds will allow us to level up new and existing entrepreneurs. The unparalleled economic stress on the black community and black businesses during this time is enormous, but we are here to help level the playing field.”
“Last June, our CEO Satya Nadella committed Microsoft to put its data, technology, and partnerships to work to help improve the lives of Black and African American people across the country,” said Kate Behncken, Vice President and Lead of Microsoft Philanthropies. “We’re proud to partner with these fifty organizations, led by and serving Black and African American people, that are providing access to the digital skills needed for so many jobs today. We’re inspired by their work, and excited we can be a part of it.”
As a result of these funds, Goodwill Industries has launched “GoodBiz,” a 6-month entrepreneurial business leadership program, for new and budding entrepreneurs. This program will help participants to enhance their digital skills as they sharpen or acquire business skills.
“GoodBiz” will advance the participants’ individual leadership capacity, increase their ability to manage and grow their businesses more effectively and develop core business competencies and leadership practices. Furthermore, they will have gained a community of peers who will serve as a continuous support system through their entrepreneurial journey.
At the beginning of the program, participants will complete a baseline evaluation of their leadership skills, organization, and current social impact utilizing a proprietary 360 MIRROR assessment. The evaluation results will inform each participant’s work with the leadership coach and will be critical in identifying the leadership goals they choose to work on improving through the program.
At the end of the program, participants will complete a survey that tracks their progress in three areas: (1) meeting their leadership goals, (2) improvements in their internal management practices and (3) improvements in their business growth goals.
The economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating rate of global digital transformation marks this as an important time for Goodwill Industries of East Texas to expand its professional skills development programs. Black and African American communities have felt the impacts of this pandemic disproportionately, and Goodwill aims to work with the communities it serves to ensure an equitable economic recovery.