Goodwill helps local businesses retain employees, with Life Navigation supports

Many local businesses struggle to retain staff. Often it’s not about the person’s qualifications, or the job fit. It’s about everything else in the employee’s life. Things like unreliable transportation, childcare, housing, medical concerns can all keep a great employee from maintaining long-term employment. Our solution is Life Navigation.

Recently, Goodwill NNE began offering its Life Navigation services to local businesses, to help serve their employees, and retain staff. In Vermont, a Goodwill Life Navigator serves employees of Casella Waste Management, Rutland Regional Medical Center, and Vermont Country Stores. In Maine’s Oxford County, another Life Navigator supports Stephens Memorial Hospital, MSAD 17, and Norway Savings Bank. Goodwill staff will be on-site to support employees. The collaborative approach of these local businesses is helping us all move more people toward personal stability.

The Job Connection Model and how we got here

Goodwill’s Life Navigators come from our Job Connection model, which we use in our many Workforce Services where we help thousands of people access career training, paid work experiences, and jobs. That approach offers each person a two-person team: a Career Advisor to help with job searches and work-life, and a Life Navigator to help with anything in life that gets in the way of a stable career. This model works very well in our workforce programs.

It worked so well that in 2019 Goodwill hired several Employee Life Navigators to support Goodwill’s own employees. Employee Life Navigators help with issues such as domestic violence and making a safety plan, purchasing cars, budgeting, planning weddings or funerals, counseling, children with behavioral issues, food insecurity, rent support, and more. If there’s something getting in the way of an employee’s stability, the Employee Life Navigators can help. At Goodwill NNE, this free benefit is available to all employees and is totally confidential. Employees can access this support on paid work time.

In 2021, Goodwill realized that other businesses (and their employees) in our community could also use this kind of support. That’s when Goodwill began to offer these services to area employers.

If your business would like to use Goodwill’s Life Navigation Services, please reach out to Kelly Osborn.

A woman in a blazer looks at a laptop while she talks to a man in a baseball camp with his head on his hands
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