New Goodwill Habilitation & Employment Services Facility for People With Disabilities Opens in Astoria, NY

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Astoria, NY – June 6, 2024 – Goodwill Industries® of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. (GoodwillNYNJ) held today a grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate the official opening of its new Goodwill Day & Employment Services facility in Astoria, Queens, NY. Address is 31-75 23rd St., Suite 402, Astoria, NY 11106. Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Phone: 718-392-7072.

For information on how to register or to refer individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, interested in receiving Day Services, training, pre-vocational, on-the-job coaching, supported employment, Day Habilitation for retired workers with disabilities, and recreational respite, please email services@goodwillny.org

Three people are standing and smiling in an office, holding a ribbon while a woman in the center cuts it with large scissors. There are glasses of champagne and a bottle on a table behind them, indicating a celebratory ribbon-cutting event.
From Left-Right: Celina Cavalluzzi, Goodwill NYNJ Assistant Vice President; Joanna Kibel-Gagne, Goodwill NYNJ Executive Vice President of Mission; Aaron Shmueli, Goodwill NYNJ Assistant Vice President

In 2023, Goodwill NYNJ provided customized job training and placement, on-the-job-coaching, and retention services for 9,459 people who are under- or unemployed, more than half of them people with disabilities. In fact, Goodwill NYNJ helped 5,207 people with disabilities to reach their career goals. Goodwill NYNJ connects people to jobs outside its stores with employers such as hospitals and health care centers, tech and accounting firms, warehousing and manufacturing sectors, grocery stores and pharmacies, and NYC agencies. Persons like Shameka Hayes, a single Black Flushing, Queens resident in her 30s with an intellectual disability who came to Goodwill in 2009. Shameka had never worked before coming to Goodwill. The Goodwill team helped her explore job options, and develop life skills. When she felt ready, the Goodwill team helped her secure a part-time job at Old Navy in 2019. Unfortunately, she lost her job when the store downsized staff due to the pandemic in 2021. She began volunteering at the store where she used to work to develop and strengthen her employability skills, and joined Goodwill’s “Job Club” to discuss with staff and peers how to get a job. This was a good decision.  While volunteering at the Rego Park Old Navy, she ran into the district manager, who recognized her and asked if she was interested and getting back to work. The Goodwill team helped her complete the job application. Shameka went back to work there as Store Associate in June 2023. The Goodwill team continues to provide her on-the-job coaching regularly to ensure she succeeds in her job.

According to Paylocity, Inclusion fosters diversity, which can lead to innovation and improved problem solving. Diverse perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities, can bring fresh ideas and insights to organizations and communities. According to a scientific paper published in the Humanities and Social Sciences Communications journal, individuals with disabilities are highly motivated to work because, in addition to earning money, they experience social integration and participation, bolstering their identity and feelings of normalcy.

“Goodwill NYNJ has maintained a physical presence in Astoria for over 50 years to provide employment supports and enhance the lives of local and NYC residents,” said Katy Gaul-Stigge, Goodwill NYNJ President and CEO. “We are committed to collaborating with elected officials, other human service agencies, schools, and residential facilities to support New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities on their journey to employment and independence.”

For nearly 110 years, the mission of Goodwill NYNJ has been to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment to gain independence through the power of work.