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Alaska representatives visit Horizon Goodwill

February 09, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Representatives of an Alaska-based social service organization spent Tuesday afternoon in Washington County on a fact-finding mission at Horizon Goodwill Industries.

Maryjean Longley, chief of operations with Cook Inlet Tribal Council of Anchorage, Alaska, said she'll return to Maryland in two months with a business plan for a nonprofit model similar to that of Horizon Goodwill Industries.

"We are interested in being part of something that is more than a program or an initiative," Longley said.

Horizon Goodwill's Executive Director, Craig M. MacLean, took Longley, Molly Duren, the council's director of employment, and Goodwill representatives from the organization's corporate headquarters on a walking tour of the 12-acre Pennsylvania Avenue facility.

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Founded in the 1950s, Horizon Goodwill Industries is part of an international network of more than 200 independent Goodwill agencies. It's also a regional headquarters covering 17 counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

Horizon Goodwill has 12 retail-outlet stores that generate revenue, and job-training business partnerships that employ hundreds throughout the region.

"The most valuable service we provide is the communication and networking through job training that permits sharing," MacLean said.

Cook Inlet Tribal Council, also a nonprofit organization, provides social, educational and employment services to Alaskan natives living in the Cook Inlet region. The council serves 600 to 800 clients a month, "many of whom need to learn new job skills that are transferable to job opportunities in an urban setting," Duren said during the tour.

Anticipating possible funding challenges, Longley said the council will have to explore ways to offer services and raise money at the same time.

"We're soft funded through grants, and we anticipate future funding cuts," Longley said.

Located in every state except Alaska, Goodwill Industries has a track record she said she hopes to duplicate in her community.

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