Helms College/Goodwill Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Helms College/Goodwill Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Goodwill partners with ReNforce for unique employment workshops

On May 20, Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia & the CSRA announced a new partnership with ReNforce to provide specialized employment workshops aimed to address the unique challenges faced by individuals reentering the workforce after involvement with the justice system.

The workshops will offer them the tools, coaching and support needed to secure meaningful employment, according to a news release from Goodwill Industries.

“At ReNforce, we recognize the complex challenges that justice-involved individuals face, and our approach is as comprehensive as it is compassionate. We are committed to providing holistic support that addresses these unique needs,” said Charlotte Garnes, ReNforce’s executive director and founder 

In addition to providing direct support for its program participants, Garnes and her team lead an outreach initiative to educate local employers on the benefits of hiring justice-impacted workers as part of their workforce, the release said.

ReNforce is a nonprofit organization with mission to drive positive change in the lives of justice-impacted individuals facing employment barriers due to incarceration or legal convictions. This partnership will allow Goodwill and ReNforce to leverage existing programs and services to support these individuals, the news release said.

Cohorts are expected to start monthly with the first one held May 20 at Goodwill’s Peach Orchard Job Connection – Career Center, 3120 Peach Orchard Road.

“Goodwill has a long and extensive track record in the field of employment and training services for individuals facing barriers,” said Leah Pontani, Goodwill’s senior vice president of career development. “The Goodwill Career Development Team does its best to provide services to everyone who walks through our doors, but that’s more than 10,000 individuals each year in our 35-county territory. That’s why collaborating with other nonprofits like ReNforce is such a wonderful opportunity. It allows us to pool our staff and resources to create new intensive service programs that provide targeted and higher-level support for underserved populations.”

This is the second formal program that Goodwill works with this year in the justice-involved space. In March 2024, Goodwill signed an memorandum of understanding to assist Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jared Williams with the Checks Over Stripes program. 

Checks Over Stripes was created to serve the community by preventing emerging adults from becoming career criminals by offering access to job skills, education and employment opportunities, the news release continued. Many of these young adults suffer from a lack of education, economic productivity and ecosystemic values.

“Many young offenders get caught in the system and end up as career criminals,” said District Attorney Jared Williams. “Together with community partners, we can stop this cycle by giving young adults the tools to succeed away from the streets by providing access to education and employment opportunities.

For more information on how to get involved with the monthly workshops, please contact Ikethia Daniels at (307) 399-2786 or at ikethia@renforce.org.

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