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Youth Program Receives Innovation Award



Goodwill's eLink program based in Winston Salem, North Carolina, received a 2012 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for the Forsyth County Real World Event.   

The Real World Event, a one-day simulation of the real world, concretely addressed education and employment decisions youth make in combination with lifestyle choices (such as housing, transportation, leisure, etc.). Participants were given an occupation based on an employment-educational assessment.  The occupation provided a salary and some had benefits. Youth were challenged to take their salary and develop a budget based on every day needs and situational crises such as medical, emotional, social, and accidental. This event helped youth re-evaluate occupational choices based on lifestyle preference.  For some, it means finishing high school, for others this event may prompt furthering their education at a community college or  university.

The event goals included bringing youth from similar situations together to share their future dreams/goals for when they leave the social service system or home; teaching youth the life skills necessary to meet their goals as productive adult citizens; and provided a one-day simulation based on how to make daily responsible, financial decisions necessary for adult life.

Sponsors included Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, Northwest Piedmont Workforce Development Board, Data Max Foundation and State Farm were part of 40 organizations that represented by 70 volunteers

NADO is a Washington, DC-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies.  The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and partnering organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. Award winners will be showcased during NADO’s 2012 Annual Training Conference, to be held October 13-16 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

“For more than 25 years, NADO’s Innovation Award has provided regional development organizations throughout the nation a unique opportunity to showcase their important work and their critical role in promoting economic development for rural and small metropolitan communities. The creativity and significant, long-term impact of regional programs and projects like the Forsyth County Real World Event are the key to advancing the economic growth and sustainability of our nation’s regions and communities,” said NADO President Russell Cowley, executive director of the Six County Association of Governments in Richfield, UT.

For more information about the award-winning project, contact the Piedmont Triad Regional Council at 336-761-2111.


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