Louisiana Goodwill to receive its award during Goodwill’s national annual Spring Conference

 NEW ORLEANS – Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana (New Orleans) has been announced as one of three local Goodwill® organizations to be designated as a 2017 Center of Excellence.

Beginning in 2001, with the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Goodwill Industries International launched the designation to recognize local Goodwill organizations with excellent family strengthening practices. The Goodwill Center of Excellence designation is the next generation of mission-focused recognition.

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana is recognized for its Charter School Contract Services Initiative, which helps address issues surrounding poverty, high employment turnover and low retention rates for adults in service industries, including janitorial, custodial, and grounds maintenance. Through its partnerships with local charter schools, Goodwill Industries of Southeast Louisiana is able to find employment opportunities for individuals and provide high-level educational services to students and teachers in the community.

A notable highlight of the program is the living wage initiative with one of the organization’s contract partners, Firstline Charter Schools. The Goodwill pays a starting hourly wage of $12.34 for custodians and $17.18 for supervisors, which represents paying above a living wage for New Orleans and is in the 75th percentile for those types of positions. In comparison, state wages for these positions can be as low as $7.75 an hour, and commercial wages in the area are around $8.50 an hour.

“Goodwill of Southeastern Louisiana is proud to address the current issue around employee turnover by working with our partners to provide financial stability to individuals and families,” said William Jessee, president and CEO of Goodwill of Southeastern Louisiana. “We’ve made great progress and look forward to more impact in the near future.”

Additional partners of the local Goodwill include Firstline Schools, ReNew Charter Schools, JCFA Charter Schools, New Beginnings Schools, Milestone Academy, Friends of King Schools and Employment Development Services.

“The issue around employee retention is one that we are seeing nationally, and particularly within the service industries,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Goodwill of Southeastern Louisiana is doing great work in communities with individuals, students and teachers.”

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana will be recognized as a Center of Excellence at Goodwill’s Spring Conference in Sarasota, FL., alongside two other organizations:

In recognition of its achievement and three-year designation, the local Goodwill will receive a $2,500 award and a plaque recognizing its exemplary work.



Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana provides opportunities to people with disabilities and other barriers to improve their economic self-sufficiency through job training, education, support services and employment.  In 2017, Goodwill’s Workforce Development & Mission Services Division served 2,938 individuals and placed 306 people into sustainable employment. Goodwill operates more than four dozen janitorial and grounds maintenance contracts and 22 retail stores in 17 cities—including Baton Rouge, Chalmette, Covington, Denham Springs, Gonzales, Hammond, Harvey, Houma, Kenner, Luling, Mandeville, Metairie, New Orleans, River Ridge, Slidell, Walker and Zachary.