Giving and Leading: Non-profit Employment

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We’ll take a look at how non-profits impact the employment sector. Kimberly Hall, director of community engagement for Goodwill of Arizona and Kristen Wilson, the CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, will discuss the spectrum of how non-profits provide job training and jobs.

CHRISTINA ESTES: In tonight's "Giving and Leading" segment we're talking jobs in the nonprofit sector. Nearly one in ten employees in Arizona works for a nonprofit. They also offer employment and training opportunities for many people with special needs. We'll hear more from two experts but first, producer Shana Fischer and photographer Scot Olson tell us about how one woman's nonprofit that's changing lives.

VIDEO: It's a busy Thursday morning at the Shine Project.

ASHLEY LEMIEUX: It's more dollars for scholarships.

VIDEO: Ashley LeMieux and her student employees are brainstorming ideas to grow the nonprofit.

ASHLEY LEMIEUX: I started the Shine Project about three, four years ago when I was interning at an inner city school in Phoenix. At that time I was kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do in my own life when I graduated college that semester. So I started a blog and I named it the Shine Project, because I wanted to have a really good year for myself and the word I chose to help motivate me was shine.

VIDEO: Ashley's blog grew in popularity, so she decided to harness the collective power of her followers to help the kids she was tutoring.

ASHLEY LEMIEUX: A lot of them that I met felt there were so many obstacles in their way and they really didn't have anyone fighting for them.

VIDEO: Her followers donated money and Ashley awarded scholarships, but she wanted the students to be self-sufficient and have job skills. She created a jewelry company as part of the Shine Project. All of the items are put together by the students.

ASHLEY LEMIEUX: They range from bracelets to necklaces to earrings, to rings.

VIDEO: They are paid for their work on top of receive scholarships. Not only is this their first job, they are also the first ones in their families to go to college. Brianna Garza has been with the Shine Project for two years. She graduated South Mountain Community College and wants to study child psychology at ASU.

BRIANNA GARZA: During high school I knew I wanted to attend college. Sometimes my parents do struggle a little bit financially. I want people to know that the Shine Project is more than having a job and making bracelets. It's to change people's lives and give people opportunities for people who maybe just don't have hope.

VIDEO: Sergio Eseberre is majoring in accounting at ASU. Besides providing him with a job, the Shine Project has helped him achieve a lifelong goal.

SERGIO ESEBERRE: I wanted to attend college, especially seeing my dad. He didn't go to college so he's been working construction most of his life. He's always telling me, if you don't go to school, this is what you're going to have to do. It's a tough job, I've seen him get pretty beat up, so I knew that I would go to school.

VIDEO: While Ashley oversees the students, they're the ones who in charge of marketing, customer service, product development and shipping.

ASHLEY LEMIEUX: Creating a place to come and work is so vital, it is so important that they learn accountability for their work, that they have pride and ownership over the work that they do. We want them to be leaders and we want them to know when they go to their first real-life job interviews that they have confidence doing that, and that they know that they are able to contribute to other companies and other organizations, wherever they choose to serve.

VIDEO: Ashley says she has high expectations of her employees. But even more importantly, they have learned to have those expectations for themselves.

BRIANNA GARZA: I know what I'm capable of, and I know I can do great things. And I know it'll take me far.

CHRISTINA ESTES: So far the Shine Project says it's helped more than 40 students pay for college. If you'd like to help with a donation or maybe buy some jewelry, visit theshineproject.com. Joining us to talk about the spectrum of nonprofit employment is Kimberly Hall, director of community engagement for Goodwill of Arizona and Kristen Wilson, the CEO of the alliance of Arizona nonprofits. Easier for me to say than Shine apparently. Thank both of you for coming in. Kristen, let's start with you. Give us an overall view of the nonprofit sector. How many nonprofits, how many people employed?

KRISTEN WILSON: There are about 20,000 nonprofits in the state of Arizona.

CHRISTINA ESTES: 20,000?

KRISTEN WILSON 20,000. When you start to think about that, everything from PTA groups all the way up to some of our major charities in the local Arizona area. Probably more about 14,000 are really what you would consider the normal T-3's you would see out doing work in the community. What's interesting though is even with that amount, the impact, as far as employment, they are about at 9% of the employment in Arizona. You kind of consider manufacturing and construction, we're right up in there. It's a huge impact.

CHRISTINA ESTES: We never think that, we always think construction. I never think about nonprofits that way.

KRISTEN WILSON: In Arizona, absolutely. A major contributor also to the GDP, we're at about 7% of that. A major contributor in quite a few ways to the local Arizona economy.

CHRISTINA ESTES: What kind of jobs?

KRISTEN WILSON: Everything ranges from people out in the field doing service, providing some of those touch points with the actual community, all the way up to everything you would think of in a normal organization. H.R., people doing business development, fund development, CEOs, the whole gamut of different professional positions.

CHRISTINA ESTES: Kimberly, Goodwill's motto is you put people to work. How do you do that?

KIMBERLY HALL: We do that internally and externally. We have about 3,000 employees throughout our 67 retail stores and 22 career centers. Externally we support hundreds of employers around the Valley with their hiring needs. Internally and externally we're really able to support the Valley and the communities as a whole get back to work.

CHRISTINA ESTES: The career centers, you offer a lot there. Tell us about that.

KIMBERLY HALL: 22 career centers around the valley, Prescott and Yuma. In these career centers, job seekers can come in, there's no appointment necessary, there's no cost to it. Our goal is to help get people back to work as quickly as possible. We assist with resume development, interviewing skills, we connect employers with great talent in the community. Last year alone we served over 74,000 people and assisted with over 44,000 job placements. We're really serious about getting people back to work.

CHRISTINA ESTES: What kind of jobs are you talking about? I know you have a lot of customer service training.
KIMBERLY HALL: Yes, we do. We have short-term training for job seekers as well as for the general public to be able to come in and get all the resources they need at no cost, that's because of generous donations of our donors. Our lifecycle our life blood is really donations. Literally 90 cents of every dollar that we earn in our retail stores goes right back into the community to help put people to work.

CHRISTINA ESTES: How about the seniors? Because you have a program for seniors. Talk about that.

KIMBERLY HALL: Our senior program is for adults 55 years old and older who are looking to get back into the job market. They have opportunities to train 20 hours a week, where they are learning new skills, building their resumes, all the with the intent of getting back to work full time. A great program with a lot of great success stories. We've helped seniors between 55 years old and 85-year-old individuals trying to get back to work. It's a great program.

CHRISTINA ESTES: I imagine you've probably seen an increase in that age group, given what we've experienced economically over the last five years. A lot of people losing jobs and having to start over.

KIMBERLY HALL: A lot of people need income now at all levels and ages. You're seeing the older population, the senior population try to delve back into the market so they can sustain themselves. Goodwill is glad to partner with them and help them do that.

CHRISTINA ESTES: And Kristen, when it comes to nonprofits in general and the kind of people who work for them. A lot of people think once you work in a nonprofit that's your career past forever and ever and ever. You've worked for a nonprofit, but it was business oriented nonprofit. Is that unusual, or do you find people leave the business world and move into nonprofits? Who do you work with?

KRISTEN WILSON: Sure. When I first entered the wonderful world of nonprofits, you find that a lot of people are kind of intermingled. They use different positions as launching pads. I think it's wonderful, it brings such a breadth and a wealth of different types of experience, so they can work together from the for-profit side and the nonprofit side. All different kinds of people work for nonprofits. It depends on what their goals are and what their passion is. Some of them are on the supporting side and some are on the direct service side. It's a great group. It's an interesting, diverse group of people that work for nonprofits.

CHRISTINA ESTES: What about generational differences? Do you see more older more younger or --

KRISTEN WILSON: I think with the milliennials in the workforce now, you see a lot of them more engaged in -- They are looking for volunteer or maybe take a year off after college. In fact, the alliance has a program with AmeriCorps Vista, which actually matches up a -- it could be a college graduate, it could also be someone with a career to assign them to a nonprofit agency to work a year on capacity building. Specifically that program helps organizations that are bringing people out of poverty. They can work for a year and gain critical job skills, personal and professional skills but in a meaningful way, allowing them to really make a difference in some of our nonprofits here in Arizona.

CHRISTINA ESTES: There are any gaps in the nonprofit sector, where, oh my gosh, we have a tough time filling this position?

KRISTEN WILSON: Not that I've been aware of necessarily. I know there's a diversity as far as gender sometimes. You know, that people are looking to see more females in the leadership role, which is wonderful to be here with three of us here today. But I think also some of the gaps, deals a lot more with like board service. They are really trying to engage the milliennials in more board service and volunteer goals. That's where the alliance can kind of help provide some professional development opportunities to help fill some of those gaps.

CHRISTINA ESTES: Fortunately, our economy is in much better shape than it was just a few years ago. How does that impact what you do, Kimberly? Is there a slowdown, is it the same, do you see more people coming to you? What do you -- what does the future hold for Goodwill?

KIMBERLY HALL: Of course after 2008 we inclined quite a bit with job seekers coming in. But honestly, it's been steadily growing every year. I think more of that is around awareness. So we help unemployed and underemployed. So that's the thing most people don't know. If you're still looking for work, you may have that interim job right now but you want a career, you can still come to Goodwill and we're here to support you with that. Year over year we've been seeing an incline since 2008.

CHRISTINA ESTES: For those looking for a new job, or to move up or for some training. What's the best way to do that? Where do I go?

KIMBERLY HALL: 22 career centers around the valley, I recommend going to our website for all of our location, at Goodwill.az.org, or you can call 602-535-4444 and we'll connect you to the closest career center in your area.

CHRISTINA ESTES: Kimberly Hall with Goodwill, Kristen Wilson, thank you so much for joining us. Wednesday on "Arizona Horizon" we'll hear from three Arizona historians, including one self-described hip-storian, all with their own unique perspectives on history and the state's unique character, at 5:30 and 10:00 on the next "Arizona Horizon." I'm Christina Estes in for Ted Simons, Thanks so much for joining us, have a great night.

Kimberly Hall: Director of community engagement for Goodwill of Arizona, Kristen Wilson, the CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

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