Goodwill NYNJ joins employers to create workplace with no barriers for people with disabilities

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Goodwill NYNJ joins employers to create workplace with no barriers for people with disabilities

On Thursday, October 10, Goodwill® Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. (Goodwill NYNJ) recognized The TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX) with the 2019 Outstanding Employer Support award for sharing the vision of Goodwill NYNJ of creating a world with no employment barriers for people with disabilities. Mike Zimmerman, Regional Vice President for HomeGoods, a division of TJX, accepted the award. Christian Diaz-Luna, a Goodwill NYNJ program participant and HomeGoods employee was honored with the 2019 NDEAM Employee of the Year award.


Katy Gaul-Stigge, Goodwill NYNJ President & CEO, presented both awards today during Goodwill NYNJ’s 3rd Employment Honors Awards ceremony in The HUB @ Company. Goodwill NYNJ holds its annual ceremony during October, National Disability Employment Awareness month (NDEAM) to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and to emphasize the importance of inclusive policies and practices to ensure that all people with disabilities who want to work have the supports and access to work. The event also serves to recognize employers who hire people with disabilities. The 2019 NDEAM theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.”

According to a 2018 study by Accenture in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability:IN, businesses that actively seek to employ people with disabilities outperform businesses that do not. Their revenues were 28% higher, net income was two times more, and profit margins were higher by 30%. Additionally, the Department of Labor found that employers who embraced disability saw a 90% increase in employee retention.

People with disabilities need comprehensive employment services to get and keep their jobs. In 2018, Goodwill NYNJ provided customized job training, placement, on the-job coaching, and retention services for 30,000 people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

Goodwill NYNJ staff stays with workers with disabilities for months, years, or as long as they need. This approach has helped Christian, who went to Goodwill NYNJ nearly 20 years ago, to have a career in retail, the sector of his choice. Goodwill NYNJ helped him get his first job after graduating from high school. At some point, Christian applied to work at a Goodwill store, where he gained work experience. Today, he works at HomeGoods.


Meet Christian, our NDEAM Employee of the Year award honoree in this video

“My coach taught me how to work , how to react with customers. Thank you coach, thank you Goodwill for giving me a chance,” said Christian Diaz-Luna, recipient of the Goodwill NYNJ 2019 NDEAM Employee of the Year award.

“We are proud to work with great employers who are creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Every day, Goodwill NYNJ connects people with mental health or developmental disabilities to employment because we provide sector-specific training and personalized supports. We don’t just find jobs, we stay with people, like Christian for many years and build relationships with companies building economic vitality and diverse workplaces,” said Goodwill NYNJ President & CEO Katy Gaul-Stigge.