Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia is known for giving back to the communities they serve, and Comcast has been proud to partner with Goodwill, helping to provide job training, educational opportunities and digital resources to the organization’s members across our region.
Since 2013, revenue from the collection and sale of donated items in Goodwill’s retail store locations, as well as funding from partners like Comcast, have made possible programs like Goodwill’s The Helms Academy, which supports adult learners in obtaining their high school diplomas, while earning college credit, at no cost.
Some Helms Academy participants earn their diploma years after leaving traditional high school. To recognize their accomplishments, Goodwill hosts a graduation ceremony for the deserving grads. This year’s ceremony was held on July 7.
During the ceremony, the deserving graduates were rewarded with a tool to help them continue to thrive in their next chapter while accessing all that the Internet has to offer – each received a new laptop, donated by Comcast.
“Our more than 35 graduates this year had different reasons for leaving high school early, ranging from family financial or situational difficulties to social anxiety, but all have persevered to reach this graduation milestone through the Helms Academy, and we are so proud,” said Mark Boyd, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Recently, Comcast also partnered with Goodwill to launch a WiFi-connected Lift Zone at their Stratford, NJ, facility. Lift Zones, which are part of Project UP, Comcast’s ongoing effort to advance digital equity, provide a robust WiFi solution in safe places for community members to get online. Many of this year’s Helms Academy grads were able to connect to the Internet through this Lift Zone, allowing them to complete class work, digital literacy training, resuming building, job training and more.
“It was an honor to attend this year’s graduation ceremony,” said Kimberly Smith, director of community impact for Comcast’s Freedom Region. “We at Comcast are inspired by the strength and resilience of the Helms Academy graduates. Their achievements bring to life the significance of our partnership with Goodwill, and it is our hope that with their diploma and digital access in hand, the graduates will have the tools they need to succeed in today’s digital word.”
View a gallery of photos from the graduation below: