Goodwill Industries International (GII) and University of Phoenix announced a new grant program that has awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Brian Otto, an employee of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont (Goodwill SP) in Charlotte, N.C. One of 10 Goodwill employees nationwide to receive the scholarship award, Otto currently serves as Director of Construction Services at Goodwill SP, where he has worked for almost five years. He plans to use the scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Management.
GII partnered with University of Phoenix to award 10 employees at GII’s 165 independent, community-based agencies across the United States and Canada with full-tuition scholarships. These employees have demonstrated academic excellence and the potential of growing into executive positions. In addition, scholarship recipients were selected based on criteria that required they be participants or graduates in one of GII’s many leadership development programs such as the executive development program and the senior leader program, among others.
“Our organization strives to recruit motivated people who are passionate about their work and our mission, and Brian is a shining example of what we seek in our employees,” said Goodwill SP President and CEO Michael Elder. “Goodwill and University of Phoenix are proud to assist Brian in fulfilling his dreams, and we wish him great success in his course work and all his future endeavors.”
Otto became involved with Goodwill SP in 2007 when he began volunteering his time and expertise to the Construction Skills Training program and the Business Advisory Council. In this role, he conducted mock interviews, offered resume assistance and gave career-development lectures to Goodwill clients. In 2009, Otto was forced to close the business he had built over the past 13 years, but Goodwill SP contacted him to see if he could conduct some mock interviews. The mock interviews went well, and a case manager asked Otto if he had time to talk to the director. Five minutes into the conversation, Otto realized he was in a job interview.
“The mission of Goodwill is one that is close to my heart, as the ability to help individuals begin the journey of family sustaining employment is something that has guided my own personal and professional life,” explained Otto. “Leadership and management are two areas I have excelled in over the years, but life has not allowed me to pursue my educational dreams, until now. Earning this degree will not only reinforce my credibility in my current position, but also enable me to pursue more senior roles within the very organization that has afforded me this incredible opportunity to reach my career potential.”
University of Phoenix will continue to offer these scholarships each year through 2016, for a total of 30 full-tuition scholarships, as part of this new partnership with GII. The scholarship announcement is part of a bigger alliance between University of Phoenix and GII to address the nation’s skills gap by providing Goodwill employees with reduced tuition for degree programs as well as certificate programs and professional development courses. The scholarships make up one of four components of the University of Phoenix and GII partnership. Through GII’s corporate university, The Helm, University of Phoenix offers a 10 percent tuition discount for all Goodwill employees and provides three-year funding for a diversity and inclusion initiative and sponsorship of an internship program. Additionally, University of Phoenix will support GII national conferences and events with funding for three years.
For more information about the University of Phoenix scholarship opportunities, visit www.phoenix.edu/scholarships.
About Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont (Goodwill SP) has been in operation since 1965 and currently operates 22 retail stores and more than 50 total donation sites in the Southern Piedmont region of North and South Carolina. Proceeds from the sale of donated goods fund job training and employment services for individuals facing barriers to employment such as lack of skills, experience or education. In 2013, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont provided services to over 14,900 individuals. For more information, visit www.goodwillsp.org.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning can help students pursue personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. As the flagship university of Apollo Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit http://www.phoenix.edu.
Ogilvy PR for University of Phoenix