This holiday season, Americans are once again shopping. Gift-seekers turned out in droves for the first weekend of holiday shopping, and consumer confidence rose to a four-year-high. This is good news for our economy, but let's not forget that some 12 million Americans aren't concerned about gifts; each of these people wants only one thing before the end of the year: a job.
Even as the economy shows signs of revival, for the individuals who have been unemployed for a long time, finding jobs remains frustratingly complex. At Goodwill, I see firsthand, day after day, just how much people without jobs are struggling, and I also see how much a helping hand can aid in the job search and in turn how landing a job can change a person's life.
Take Carolyn Wright, for example. When Carolyn was laid off after 13 years in the same job, she found herself without proper training to transition to a new career. Like millions of other Americans, she had only trained for one job; she didn't have the flexibility to transition into a new career and could not find a job in her current field. After looking into Microsoft classes offered at Goodwill, Carolyn obtained business and medical office training with an aim to go into medical administration. Although she hadn't attended school in 20 years, she enjoyed the learning process. She earned perfect scores and felt great about herself after so recently hitting her lowest point. At the same time, Carolyn received job search assistance. She quickly earned a temporary position that led to full-time employment and today is happy to have a job that she loves.
There are countless other people like Carolyn -- people who are eager to work hard and earn a living and simply need the training opportunities to get there. I believe every American deserves the same chance Carolyn had: to train for, find and keep a good job. Without the proper resources, these tasks can seem insurmountable.
This holiday season, consider taking a few minutes out of your gift-giving traditions to join the fight against unemployment. You can do so by taking an hour to clean out your closets and join the Donate Movement, donating used clothes and goods to fund job training and placement programs.
Now you can also accomplish this mission by taking just a minute of your time to donate your voice, letting all of your friends and family know that you believe in the power of work.
Goodwill is seeking individuals to make an impact by declaring they stand with us in the fight against unemployment. Because all of our voices together are much louder than one voice alone, we've started a Thunderclap drive in partnership with Levi's. We ask that at least 100 people donate their voices to the fight against unemployment. If 100 people pledge their support through Thunderclap by December 12, a message will be sent through their Twitter or Facebook accounts simultaneously -- meaning that their voices and the voices of their friends and followers will speak together about the power of work.
As the holiday season kicks into full gear and our economy continues to swing upwards, let's be sure to remember that every American deserves the chance to reach self-sustainability through the power of work. Pledge your voice today.