As it continues to launch new programs and expand existing ones to better serve the community—thanks to the $10 million gift from MacKenzie Scott last year—Goodwill Manasota is expanding the scope of its JobsPlus Language (JPL) program to hire, train and retain workers with no, or extremely limited, English fluency. The overall goals of the JobsPlus Language program are to serve 50 limited-English proficiency team members, to graduate 10 JPL team members into other job slots and additional job skills training programs, to provide an internal pathway to better wages, and to offer an immersion model that can improve overall English proficiency in Manatee County. According to U.S. Census data, a language other than English is spoken at home in nearly 18 percent of households in Manatee County (between 2015-2019, for ages five-plus).
With the additional bilingual staff support and on-the-clock classes and resources, workers will have access to wraparound services that support them during and outside of work. Prior to the program expansion, Goodwill had approximately 40 team members with limited English proficiency working in various roles. The new hires are now starting their tenure in Goodwill’s Logistics department, working as apparel processors. Additionally, partner agency Manatee Literacy Council has added a brand-new class to existing offerings for “Absolute Beginners.” The new JPL hires will also participate in two 90-minute “Absolute Beginners” classes each week while on the clock.