For the last five years, Black Duck Partners has strengthened the PF® Judgement Free Zone® by partnering with Goodwill’s Workforce Development Program and employing the individuals who come through the program.
Goodwill’s Workforce Development Program is designed to help prepare people with disabilities to enter competitive work fields and find employment. The program works hard to offer work experience and training, evaluations of work-related skills, vocational evaluations, job readiness skills, job placement and retention services. Through their “Spread the Word to End the Word” initiative, Goodwill is partnering with schools, organizations and communities to raise awareness on the distressing effect the r-word (retard/ed) has on individuals with disabilities. By spreading the word “respect,” the initiative seeks to end the use of the r-word and show employers and the rest of the world how hard-working and driven individuals with disabilities are and that community-based employment works.
“As part of the Judgement Free Generation®, we have worked with Workforce Development Programs near all of our clubs over the last five years,” said Brice Scholz, marketing coordinator with Black Duck Partners, owned by Tim Lennon and Mike Dobrynio. “During this time, we have had hundreds of employees become part of our PF family. It is a true pleasure to be part of their growth and development while they learn the skills needed to be part of the workplace and develop the ability to have a tremendous impact on their community.”
In June 2017, Black Duck Partners’ Sioux City location hired Cari Davis through the Workforce Development Program. Davis is just one of the hundreds of individuals from the program who has made an impact in the workplace and has benefited greatly from the partnership Planet Fitness® has with Goodwill. “We have these workforce development programs in just about all of our clubs and DMAs,” said Scholz. “This is a great initiative and best practice.”
Davis lights up the gym when she comes to work. “I have never had a negative day when she’s in here,” said Scott Scholl, fitness instructor at Sioux City Planet Fitness where Davis works, in a video interview. “She’s always smiling, always in a good mood that is infectious.” Davis touches the lives of the staff and members of Planet Fitness and is showing the community how much of an impact community-based employment can make.
Due to the great partnership Planet Fitness has with Goodwill, Brice Meyer, regional manager of the Omaha area, was invited to be a guest speaker for the “Spread the Word to End the Word” initiative and spoke on behalf of Planet Fitness. Meyer touched on how great the Goodwill Workforce Development Program has been for Planet Fitness and how it has affected the Judgement Free Zone.
“We wanted to share this with hopes that it will encourage other franchisees to get involved with these programs,” said Scholz. “We strongly believe they align perfectly with Planet Fitness and would be a great initiative alongside the pro-kindness movements!”