Actually, said Jane Nichols, Goodwill is a workforce development service that provides free assistance to people seeking employment or wanting to increase their job skills.
However, she acknowledged during Thursday’s opening ceremonies for the new Goodwill store and career center in the Carrollton Crossroads shopping center that donations and sales of “gently used goods” are what have fueled the growth of the organization.
“It starts with a donation, and because of all the donations we’ve gotten through the years of being in Carrollton, we’re able to open this second location, and more importantly, expand our mission,” Nichols told the long line of shoppers outside the store, who were awaiting the ribbon cutting and official opening. “Last year, we served almost 28,000 people and put more than 3,500 in competitive employment in the community. Our shoppers and donors make our mission possible and we want to celebrate with you today.”
Nichols said Goodwill opened its first Carrollton store in 1992 and the success of that store helped build the new store which can begin to offer free career center services.
“We’ll take the community services that are already here and create a common area, where it’s a one-stop type of environment,” she said. “Technology drives job search now and it’s different than it used to be. There’s a lot of people, my age even, who want to know how to do that. They’re looking for different or new employment in the area. We do all of that and it’s fun and very rewarding to the community. We created something with an economic impact and it’s very rewarding for our donors and shoppers to know they did it.”
Nichols said the Goodwill career center is not “your typical unemployment office,” but a really pro-active place, providing a safe environment for people looking for work.
Daniel Jackson, president/CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, praised Goodwill for its contributions to the area.
“We’re delighted that you have chosen to expand and open the career center and be part of our community in this way,” Jackson said. “Workforce education is an important piece of what we’re interested in, in terms of this community and what you’re going to bring to the table. We’re excited about that.”
After the opening ceremonies, the store quickly filled with shoppers, taking advantage of Thursday’s opening specials and several prize drawings, in addition to the usual low prices for goods which range from clothing to books, games and electronic devices.
The new 15,332-foot concrete block building features a 1,500-square-foot career center, staffed by specialists who can help with resumes, job interviews, dress suggestions, networking skills and basic computer training.
The store will be open seven days per week, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
The career center will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Carrollton North store, at 108 Park Place Way, near Kmart on Bankhead Highway, will remain open.
The Carrollton stores are part of Goodwill of Southern Rivers, headquartered in Columbus, Ga. They are among 165 independent, community based Goodwill nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada. Goodwill of Southern Rivers serves 50 counties in west Georgia and east Alabama.
In addition to the Carrollton opening, new Goodwill stores are due to open in Columbus on April 18; Newnan, May 23; and Phenix City, Ala., June 27.
More information on Goodwill and employment applications are available online at www.gwisr.org.