Milwaukee high school students celebrated their accomplishments and completion of Lead2Change’s Dream.Explore.Build (D.E.B.) initiative on August 6, a career-readiness program designed to engage high school students in cultivating their dreams, exploring their strengths, and building their futures.

The completion ceremony took place in the parking lot at the James O. Wright Center for Work and Training at 6055 N 91st Street in Milwaukee. The event also marked a milestone in the community partnership between Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Lead2Change to help build Milwaukee’s talent pipeline.

“It has been exciting to partner with an organization that has a mission focused on workforce development,” said Dionne Grayson, President and CEO of Lead2Change. “We are excited to expose our students to Goodwill Industries, and we look forward to future opportunities to expand our impact by engaging parents and connecting them with the resources and services that Goodwill offers.”

The celebration was structured with public safety in mind, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the selection of an outdoor venue and strict social distancing. Families and organizers gathered during a drive-in-movie-styled event. Attendees could watch the ceremony from their cars on the large screen projection, or from a Facebook Live broadcast on their mobile devices.

With similar missions to serve and advance communities, Goodwill Industries and Lead2Change partnered to bring the transformational career-readiness programming to youth on Milwaukee’s northwest side. Lead2Change is a career-readiness organization that engages young people in leadership opportunities and strives to equip them with essential tools to be successful in college, their career, and the community. Employment and training are primary focus for Goodwill Industries, assisting men and women to develop their job skills and secure work opportunities that fulfill their personal and professional goals.

As a part of this community partnership, Goodwill Industries provided a site for Lead2Change’s signature program, D.E.B., at the James O. Wright Center for Work and Training during the 2019-20 Lead2Change programming year, which took place weekly on Saturdays starting on November 2, 2019. The partnership allowed Lead2Change to offer classes on the northwest side of Milwaukee at a location that was accessible for families. Having the site eliminated the transportation barrier faced by many of the students, and offered an opportunity for them to learn outside of their traditional classrooms in a safe and supportive environment.

“Meaningful community impact requires deeper levels of collaboration. Prior to COVID-19, we were able to open our doors to host an amazing program – a program that’s shaping and building a robust, diverse talent pipeline in Milwaukee,” said Angela Adams, vice president community relations, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc. “Today is a day that we can celebrate our youth who successfully navigated our current reality in order to complete their Dream.Explore.Build. program.”

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Lead2Change and Goodwill Industries