Our Mission At Work: Richard’s Story

  • Goodwill of Central Iowa |
  • | Mission

At Goodwill of Central Iowa, it is our mission to make purposeful employment possible for all. However, the path to employment often looks different for everyone. In order to best serve a variety of needs, we offer multiple mission programs such as Day Services, Skills Training, and Supported Employment.  

While every program has a different focus, all mission programs can help people connect with others in the community, build confidence, increase self-advocacy, and develop skills needed to obtain employment. These experiences change lives and encourage people to learn more about themselves and the community they are a part of. 

“One of the best things we can do for people in the Supported Employment program, is to help them build confidence in the good work that they are doing and show them that they are valued.”

-Emma, Goodwill Career Specialist
Emma, Goodwill of Central Iowa Career Specialist, checks in with Supported Employment participant, Richard, while he is working in the kitchen to review current employment goals and answer questions.


For one individual, Goodwill of Central Iowa’s mission programs encouraged him to try something new. In doing so, he gained self-awareness and found more independence. 

Richard’s journey began when he realized the satisfaction helping his family by completing household chores brought to his life. This understanding inspired him to explore opportunities that would offer training and experience to join the workforce. After receiving a recommendation, Richard enrolled in Goodwill of Central Iowa’s Warehouse Skills and Safety Training Program.

Throughout the six-week course, Richard participated in both classroom and paid, hands-on training. This afforded him new skills and knowledge to safely work around, and operate, standard warehouse equipment. Richard’s successful completion of the program gave him the skills and confidence to enter the workforce. 

Your support helps Goodwill of Central Iowa continue to change lives in our communities one job at a time.

Through the Warehouse Skills and Safety Training Program, Richard identified the type of work environment that best suited him. He knew an individually-paced position with a hands-on approach was vital to his success and happiness. After entering Goodwill’s Supported Employment Program, and partnering his Goodwill Career Specialist, Richard was able to explore his options. He secured employment as a dishwasher at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines.  

Focusing on one task at a time and working at his own pace has allowed Richard to flourish in his position. In fact, Richard has not missed a single day of work since starting at Wakonda Club. His dedication has inspired praise from his manager for his dependability and hard work. Through the programs offered by Goodwill of Central Iowa, Richard has acquired skills, confidence and gainful employment. He also enjoys the satisfaction of being able to help support his family.  


Day Services Program: Adults with physical or intellectual disabilities can participate in structured, daily programming focusing on building life skills, encouraging self-advocacy, and exploring the community.  

Skills Training Program: Goodwill’s “Retail” and “Warehouse Skills & Safety Training” programs combine classroom learning with paid, hands-on training opportunities. Individuals gain valuable skills and experience to prepare them for the workplace.  

Supported Employment Program: Goodwill Career Specialists, like Emma, work with individuals to first identify their personal goals and interests. Together, they navigate all aspects of job acquisition such as resume building, job searching, application and interviewing. They also focus on aligning potential employment to the participant’s skills, goals, and abilities. Together, program participants and their Career Specialists collaborate to learn new tasks, build sustainable routines, and develop positive work habits.

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