The mission of global nonprofit Goodwill Industries International is to help people find jobs, change their lives and improve their communities. This so closely aligns with Indeed’s mission — helping people find jobs — that the two organizations have just announced a strategic collaboration.

Indeed has committed to helping 1 million job seekers around the world find employment by 2024, with Goodwill organizations in the U.S. and Canada partnering in the initiative.

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We caught up with Goodwill President and CEO Steven C. Preston during this year’s Indeed Interactive to talk about the partnership. The video above shows Preston and Indeed CEO Chris Hyams explaining a little about why this collaboration matters so much; below we take a deeper dive with Preston into just why we’re doing this together.

Goodwill helps people facing challenges to finding employment 

First, a little about how Indeed’s and Goodwill’s missions intertwine. Both organizations help people get jobs, but — says Preston — at Goodwill, the emphasis is on a specific group of job seekers. “Goodwill consists of 160 local and community-based organizations across North America, which have a deep comprehension of their markets,” Preston says.

“We help people who've never really had opportunities for training or development.” This includes those “with barriers,” such as a disability, criminal background or facing challenging life transitions (e.g., job loss, family breakup or returning from active military duty). Through training and other supportive services, Goodwill enables these individuals to achieve sustainable and satisfying employment.

For instance, Preston shares the story of a Roanoke, Virginia, man who couldn’t find work after serving in the U.S. military; fell into drug addiction; and ended up incarcerated. After his release, he entered the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator program, which helped him develop new skills. Today, the veteran is learning to code and will soon be certified in cybersecurity — a rapidly growing field in which employers are struggling to find skilled talent.

“Beyond economic stability, we believe a job gives you an opportunity to contribute your gifts, develop a community and thrive, which is what we're all after in life,” Preston says. “That has positive ripple effects not just on individuals, but also on their families, their communities, their employers and our country.”

“The right job opportunity can change someone’s life, and working with Goodwill will help us reach people that need extra support to find it,” Indeed CEO Chris Hyams said in his official announcement of the partnership.

Connecting job seekers to employers and resources

So how are we going to help one million people find jobs within five years? Preston outlines three ways in which Goodwill job seekers can benefit from Indeed tools and resources so that the two organizations can help each other in their missions:    

1. More sophisticated self-assessments. Often, people come to Goodwill without a strong sense of what skills they can offer or develop to become a more attractive hire, Preston observes.

Indeed and Goodwill are piloting ways in which Indeed’s online Assessments tool can give Goodwill’s job seekers “greater visibility into the opportunities for them today — and the opportunities they can have tomorrow — if they develop their skills,” Preston adds. Indeed’s Assessments tool provides aptitude, skills and personality tests, which will help Goodwill job seekers determine the jobs for which they’re most qualified.

2. Employer hiring events. Combining Goodwill’s employer-hosted hiring events with Indeed’s event management tools will help people who’ve often had challenges gaining access to good employers — in front of relevant hiring professionals.

“These events will give us an opportunity to show employers what our job seekers can do and that their life challenges often have no effect on their ability to fulfill a job,” Preston says. "What excites me about the hiring events is that Indeed's technology and existing relationships with job seekers helps Goodwill recruit new participants for upskilling and workforce and services. When Goodwill can leverage Indeed's hiring tool they have a chance to get new individuals into Goodwill's doors who were not aware of how we can assist them."

3. Job seeker support. Goodwill job seekers will receive training and support in using Indeed tools to showcase their competencies and capabilities and search for jobs more effectively online.

Connecting employers to motivated, trained candidates

Of course, with the U.S. unemployment rate at 3.6 percent — the lowest in nearly 50 years — and the economy adding jobs for a record-setting 103 consecutive months, it may seem that times are good for job seekers. But opportunity is not equally available to everyone. Despite this great news, there are still over 7 million people unfilled job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to these, “we have many more people who are underemployed, are in part-time jobs, or are considered ‘working poor,’” Preston adds. Goodwill’s partnership with Indeed will help build a bridge between people seeking better opportunities and employers looking for great hires in a highly competitive labor market.

With Goodwill job seekers, employers get access to a highly motivated talent pool that’s eager to adapt and grow.

Additionally, Goodwill partners with employers to train potential hires in the specific skills an employer needs, Preston says. “We work with employers to tap into populations of people they might not otherwise have access to and help candidates bring relevant skills and job readiness to the table,” he explains.

“In a world of high employee turnover, many employers find the people they get through Goodwill are some of their most loyal employees. These individuals know what the other side looks like and are so thankful to be in a stable situation.”

How employers can discover their next great hire

Of course, to make this work we also need the interest of employers. How can they get involved? Preston encourages them to think beyond their usual recruiting methods and reach out to their local Goodwill.

“Because we have a lot of training and support programs and partner with community colleges and service providers, we may be able to solve many of your hiring challenges,” he says. “And in some cases, we may be able to design programs to meet your specific workforce needs.”

Keeping an open mind about every job candidate is also important, Preston adds: “The person on the other side of the table may be a terrific employee even if they have an unconventional background; even if they’ve faced tough life challenges; even if they might look or sound different from you.”

Here’s to helping one million people find jobs!