MLC proved to be an essential asset in the appropriations process, providing necessary knowledge and guidance for achieving program objectives, which resulted in 25 new jobs and a meaningful network of relationships between Goodwill and Lansing officials. As Goodwill planned its next initiative, a prison diversion and job training program, the organization again turned to MLC for reliable support.
In 2013, the government performed an audit of the prisoner release system in Michigan and found it to be drastically underperforming. As a result, the state wanted to bring the process in-house to be run by the Department of Corrections. Goodwill on the other hand wanted to expand its job training efforts to serve groups in need of getting their lives back on track, and saw this as a great opportunity. At-risk individuals, such as those with a troubled childhood or an unsupportive home environment and had run-ins with the law, fit the demographic that Goodwill wanted to serve. The organization had seen great success with similar programs in other states, but needed funding in order to execute.
Through the prison diversion and job training program, Goodwill offers educational classes that teach individuals important life skills and job training for specific occupations in industries such as automotive, recycling, and customer service. Similar to the recycling initiative, Goodwill was able to secure part of the funding needed via federal and foundation grants, but still required appropriations from the state.
Goodwill originally sought a large appropriation that would require a very detailed budget outline and significant support from key legislators. MLC knew that finding a legislative champion to lead this proposal would be pivotal to its success.
MLC strategically worked with many of the same legislators they called on to assist with the recycling program budget. It was also brought to attention the success Goodwill has seen with this program in other states, and the positive results for both citizens and communities it produced. With this program, the state is saving a considerable amount of money by lowering prison costs and simultaneously boosting the economy because of the opportunities it facilitates for people to become active members of society—buying goods and services and paying taxes. Because of MLC’s work with Goodwill for the recycling program, state legislators and staffers were more aware of Goodwill’s efforts and open to discussion on the organization’s subsequent efforts. In the end, Goodwill received a $2.5 million appropriation. With this money, Goodwill nearly doubled its capabilities, allowing for the addition of 425 new jobs and enabling the program to serve a total of 1,100 people.
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