A letter from our President/CEO Tom Feurig
In Southwest Florida, All Goodwill Workers Earn More than Minimum Wage
June 22, 2013
Goodwill Industries has recently and understandably come under fire after a report on the NBC news program "Rock Center" about the Federal Government's Special Minimum Wage Certificate. The story may have given some viewers the false impression that all people with disabilities working for Goodwill earn less than the Federal minimum wage while its executives are personally profiting. This could not be further from the truth.
Allow me to assure you that Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida does not hold the Minimum Wage certificate.
All of our 850+ employees earn over the Florida state minimum wage. In fact, in spring of 2013, well before the "Rock Center" segment, our organization conducted an extensive wage and salary survey to ensure that our employees in every position, including our leadership team, are earning a wage competitive with people in similar jobs across the region. Hundreds of our employees have seen pay increases as a result of this study.
While it is true that some Goodwill organizations are among the 3,400 employers nationwide that use the wage certificate to provide employment support to people with very severe disabilities, every Goodwill agency makes decisions about services and employment policies based on the community's needs, available resources and its organizational capabilities. The services and employment opportunities we provide at Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida don't fall in line with the use of the certificate.
We serve Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties with programs and services that provide opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages to become more independent. These programs include ADA-approved barrier-free housing; the Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy, a charter school for students with intellectual disabilities; Job-Link Centers, which provide employment and family strengthening services; and much more. In 2012, we helped 30,000 Southwest Floridians to become more independent. That's one in every 38 people living in our region.
Nationwide, four out of five people with disabilities are out of the workforce, and Goodwill is working very hard to change this unfortunate statistic. Here in Southwest Florida, your continued support of Goodwill is necessary to allow us to sustain our mission. If you have further questions about what Goodwill does in our community, we encourage you to visit our website at www.goodwillswfl.org, or attend a Breakfast with the President meeting where we can meet face-to-face.
(Updated January 2014)