Your neighborhood Goodwill may offer more than meets the eye. Many Goodwill centers across the nation operate One Stop Career Centers alongside their retail stores/donation centers to assist youth, adults, and families to improve their skills and education. One such Career Center in Conemaugh Valley, Pennsylvania, is now offering locals the chance to earn their high school diploma in a supportive environment. This gives community members who are struggling to find work a second chance to earn the credentials and skills needed to increase their chances for employment.

The Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley (GICV), Inc. operates a Career Center that's open to the public, to provide individuals with guidance and services including job training, career development, education, and mentoring. The Center helps adults with various backgrounds and career experience: some are looking for their first job, others have disabilities or who have been dislocated due to layoffs or company closings. Whatever the reason, many come to GICV because they face the barrier of non-traditional high school age. Oftentimes, dedicated employees who had never earned their high school diploma are caught in limbo if a company shuts down. While they're too old to go back to high school, they also are unable to apply for most positions that offer a living wage.

GICV sought to bolster their career services and the local workforce by offering a new high school completion program for adults. By partnering with Penn Foster, GICV can enroll adults into a regionally and nationally accredited high school diploma program. Now, not only can motivated individuals earn their high school diploma onsite through a flexible and supportive program, but local employers have an improved pool of candidates to hire from.

As community organizations and employers partner together to invest in the local workforce, creative solutions arise that would never have been possible before. GICV now has the opportunity to connect even more qualified individuals to the local job market, and keep their finger on the pulse of marketplace needs and job openings. Community-based organizations and nonprofits along with local employers have tremendous opportunity to play a role in shaping tomorrow's workforce. By harnessing 21st century education solutions, communities can help to address the education gap in America and enable those who have fallen through the cracks to get back on their feet, and plugged into the workforce.

Read More Recommended for You: How Organizations of All Kinds Can Support High School Dropouts

Photo credit.