Goodwill Industries of Kansas this week announced a $300,000 grant from the Bank of America to be distributed for education and career readiness through the organization’s NexStep Unlocked program, a re-entry program for individuals currently participating in probation or parole.
The grant is a part of the bank’s expanded $1.25 billion, five-year commitmentto advance racial equality and economic opportunity.
The program, NexStep Unlocked was created by NexStep Alliance, Goodwill Industries of Kansas, and WSU Tech, as a referral-only program for those coming out of the justice system to work on their GED or job certification. The program provides eligible students the opportunity to complete a career pathway through WSU Tech, earn college credit and industry-recognized credentials, as well as their high school diploma. The program pays for supplies, supplemental materials, and tuition assistance.
“Bank of America is dedicated to partnerships that provide new ways to advance opportunity and success in Wichita. NexStep Unlocked has a proven achievement record, making a real difference in the lives of local residents,” said Shawn Lancelot, President, Bank of America Wichita.
“We believe the NexStep Unlocked program participants can build a better future for themselves and their families, as well as provide meaningful contributions to our local economy,” said Chris Stanyer, Vice President of Career Services, Goodwill Industries of Kansas. “Through this partnership with Bank of America, we will leverage and enhance our current programming over the next three years to contribute an additional $300,000 into our foundational services, enabling even more employment successes in our community.”
Recently, the program graduated its third cohort of students with many of the participants already placed in a career related to their field of study. Each NexStep cohort consists of 10-15 adults, with employment opportunities including skilled jobs at a number of Wichita corporations including Textron Aviation and Harper Trucks. Additionally, a special component of this year’s program was mentorship from participants of the second cohort, which experienced a 100% completion rate of the program.
Although there is no pubic application for NexStep Unlocked, if you or someone you know could benefit from this program they are encouraged to call Goodwill Industries of Kansas at (316) 744-9291