When many speak of Detroit’s turnaround, thoughts of new housing, transit improvements and new investment come to mind. But what about jobs? How do you ensure that everyone is connected to the opportunities coming online, especially for those residents who are returning citizens? On Thursday, September 23, Goodwill Industries answered that question and more with the grand opening of a new home for their award winning workforce development and social services program that serves Detroiters re-entering society after incarceration. As one of the most important legacies retiring Goodwill Industries President and CEO, Lorna Utley will leave behind, the Flip the Script program led and created in partnership with Keith Bennett has been changing the lives of men and women for over 13 years.
Since 2003 Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, along with local and national foundations, and community partnerships have been flipping the script for many that others had given up as hopeless, worthless, too risky and overwhelming. Flip the Script ensures that a troubled childhood, an unsupportive home environment or poor choices that lead to running with the wrong crowd do not steal a young person’s future. In partnership with the Wayne County Courts, the State of Michigan, Wayne County and the Detroit Police Department, this program provides a pathway to success once young people transition out of the justice system and provides the tools needed to create the life they want and deserve. The program is focused on residents who live in Wayne County between the ages of 16 – 30. This center will train up to 700 program participants per year with elements that go beyond interviewing and resume writing. The program tackles literacy, communication skills and socio-emotional development. Additionally the highly successful Community Ventures program, founded by former Michigan Department of Economic Development Corporation CEO, Michael Finney will provide wrap around services for clients once they have received job placements.
Now located at 2777 E. Grand Boulevard, the new facility which brought Flip the Script and Goodwill’s Center for Working Families to the core of the North End community was a dream 12 years in the making. Housed in a building formally vacant building for nearly 20 years, Goodwill and its partners including Vanguard Community Development Corporation are breathing new life into this area of the neighborhood. Helping to make this dream a reality are long standing north end champions and supporters who have been engaged in the community led transformation of the neighborhood. Supporters include J.P Morgan Chase Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Detroit LISC, Capital Impact and the City of Detroit Planning and Development.
For more information on The Flip the Script program and Goodwill Industries please visit www. goodwilldetroit.org.