WMU partners with Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids for employee leadership, growth training

Contact: Stacey Moore
Photo of four people looking at a computer with the words Goodwill, The Lead Experience and Western Michigan University.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan—Western Michigan University is partnering with Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids to launch the Leadership, Engagement and Development Experience. The program is part of an intentional effort by Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids to provide services to their employees that focus on development, so employees can achieve their unique professional goals within the organization or the greater community.

The LEAD Experience is a nine-month program developed by the Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids and WMU Professional Development. The first class begins their training Thursday, Oct. 31.

Program content focuses on leadership, professional communications, change management, emotional intelligence, diversity, equity and inclusion, and mental health, with courses taught by both WMU faculty and community partners. Participants will complete their development courses one day a month either at the WMU-Grand Rapids, Beltline regional location or at Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids in Grandville.

"Engaging Western Michigan University's subject matter experts with Goodwill managers, we have been able to develop a very customized and in-depth training program to enhance and grow the professional skills of the various team members at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids," says Carol Bale, program manager for professional development at WMU.

In addition to expert faculty from WMU, the initiative includes subject matter experts and partners from the Grand Rapids community including Tim Furlong with My Quarter Turns, Justin Walworth with Peckham Inc., and mental health first aid professionals from Network 180. This opportunity will serve as a way for Goodwill to promote personal leadership among emerging talent, engage employees through personal growth, and professional development through continued education.

"This program is a way for us to invest in our employees giving them the tools to perform at their greatest capacity," says Laurel Buck, talent development and acquisition manager with Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids. "It will also provide leadership content focused around internal competencies along with broader, transferable skills for participants to utilize along their chosen career pathway."

Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids and WMU plan to have 90 GGGR employees complete the program, which will begin new sessions several times over the course of the next three years.

About Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids

Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to changing lives and communities through the power of work. Since 1966, the organization has offered a wide range of employment and training programs to assist those with disabilities and other barriers to employment in developing their marketable skills in order to find meaningful employment. Its efforts are supported by revenue from its 20 retail stores in a five-county area, as well as from monetary donations. For more information, visit www.goodwillgr.org.

About Professional Development at WMU

WMU's professional development office provides customized employee training and advanced professional development programs to meet business needs by enhancing team skills, increasing knowledge and effectiveness. By partnering with the University's subject matter experts and instructional design experts, training is delivered in the modalities best suited for employees. Whether it's a training need or an on-site degree program, WMU offers the expertise and flexibility in partnering with organizations to accomplish employee development. For more information, contact Carol Bale at carol.bale@wmich.edu.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.