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U.S. Sen. Corker Tours Goodwill’s Nashville Plant

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker poses with a group on Goodwill employees after his tour of the downtown facility on Thursday, November 6.

 

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker toured Goodwill’s downtown Nashville facility on Nov. 6 and saw for himself how donors’ gently used clothing and household items are turned into employment and training opportunities for thousands of Tennesseans each year.

Corker met with Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee employees including President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas, Board Chairman Donna Yurdin and Vice Chairman Fred McLaughlin for a video and discussion of Goodwill’s operations and mission before touring the plant. Bourlakas explained how money raised in Goodwill’s stores through the sale of donated items is used to provide numerous types of employment training, certifications and job placement services at Goodwill’s 29 Career Solutions Centers. So far this year those centers have served nearly 25,000 people and placed more than 7,600 in jobs.

Next, Goodwill Director of Production Joan Sundstrom led the senator on the path taken by donated clothing as it moves through the plant, from the dock, down an array of conveyors and past row upon row of employees who sort, tag and package the textiles for allocation to 34 Goodwill stores. About 450 people work at the plant, while total employment for Goodwill of Middle Tennessee tops 2,200.

“I was impressed by how much time the senator spent talking to the employees,” Sundstrom said.

One of those workers, Grace Wade, had been out of work for three years before being hired as a production associate at Goodwill.

“I didn’t have a job when I came to Goodwill,” she told the senator. “They gave me a chance to take my life back, and I love them for that.”

Corker concluded his tour by shaking hands and posing for photos with a group of plant workers who have disabilities. They presented him with an autographed picture of themselves.

“I am proud of the inspiring work Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee is doing to impact the lives of so many Tennesseans, and I enjoyed touring their facility in Nashville,” Corker said. “When most people think about Goodwill, they think about donating clothes, and while that’s certainly important, the work Goodwill is doing for local communities goes so much further.

“I was particularly touched by their work to provide opportunities for the disabled and individuals in need to find and maintain jobs,” he added.

Bourlakas said after the tour that the Senator’s reaction was gratifying but not surprising.

“For everybody who visits this plant, a huge takeaway is, ‘I had no idea of the size and scope and the impact of what Goodwill is doing,” he explained. “When you have a senator who shares those same reactions, it inspires me to work that much harder to get Goodwill’s message out.”

Goodwill Honors Outstanding Partners, Clients

Stories of Success, Determination Celebrated at Jackson Impact Luncheon 

(West Tenn.) — A laid-off, single mom who became a high school teacher. A painfully shy housekeeper who found her voice and her independence. These are just a few of the stories of hard work, support and redemption celebrated by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee at its Impact Luncheon awards ceremony in Jackson Friday, November 7.

WBBJ-TV’s Bart Barker emceed the well-attended event at the DoubleTree Hotel, where 11 clients, employer partners and community partners of Goodwill Career Solutions were honored.

In his opening remarks, Goodwill President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas announced that Goodwill’s 28 Career Solutions centers have already surpassed their 2014 goals of providing employment assistance to more than 20,000 people and finding jobs for 6,000. So far this year, nearly 25,000 people have been served and 7,600 of those landed jobs.

MEET THIS YEAR’S AWARD-WINNERS

110% Award

This award is given to a Career Solutions client who has succeeded beyond all expectations in their new job.

When Tiffany Thompson first enrolled in Goodwill’s transitional employment training program to be a housekeeper in October of 2012, she was so shy, quiet and withdrawn she was all but invisible. Though she had a daughter of her own, Tiffany lived with her mother and depended on her mom for transportation.

At first, she would not initiate conversations with co-workers and was deeply insecure about her skills. But as her training continued and she was hired as a housekeeper at the North Jackson Career Solutions Center, Tiffany began to blossom. She helped out at job fairs, strengthening her communication and customer service skills.

Tiffany completed the Basic Computer course and Microsoft Office classes. It wasn’t easy — Tiffany often came into the Career Solutions center early to complete her class assignments before starting work. But she earned her certification in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. With the encouragement of Career Solutions employees, Tiffany studied for her driving test and passed it. Then she bought herself a car.

Since then Tiffany has enrolled in the West Tennessee Business College Medical Billing Specialist program. She has maintained a “B” average since June of 2014, and she recently began house-hunting so she and her daughter can have a place of their own. Tiffany says she loves being independent and self-sufficient.

Graduates of the Year

The recipients of this award have achieved great success since enrolling in Goodwill Career Solutions.

Latorria Hennings-Drake was laid off from her job as an administrative assistant in May. The single mom quickly realized that she needed help finding a new and better job to support herself and her 6-year-old son.

Though she has a chemistry degree and had occasionally worked as a substitute teacher, her resume, her computer skills and her job-hunting skills all needed refreshing. She could barely afford the gas to drive her son to twice-weekly speech therapy sessions.

Then she met career counselor Casey Coatney at a local baseball game. They talked, and Latorria came into the South Jackson Career Solutions Center, where she got training in job readiness and digital literacy.

With updated interviewing skills and a fresh resume, she got her foot in the door at Jackson Central-Merry High School as a substitute teacher in August. One month later, the school offered her a permanent position teaching math to eleventh- and twelfth-graders. Laborria says she loves her job, and she gives much of the credit to Goodwill.

 

When Lisa Turner walked into the Career Solutions Center in South Jackson, her life was at a crossroads. A rocky divorce had left her with few resources. She had not worked for several months and needed to find  a new place to live.

At 55, she thought employers might overlook her because of her age. But Lisa came armed with a familiarity with computers, a professional, courteous demeanor and a determination to find a job quickly.

She arrived each day when the office opened and spent hours filling out online applications. She completed Goodwill’s job readiness, digital literacy and Microsoft Office training. But she says the boost to her self-esteem from the staff’s encouragement was just as important as refreshing her computer skills.

Her diligence paid off. In just a few weeks, she received multiple job offers. She accepted a position as an administrative assistant with Hamilton-Ryker staffing company and has never looked back.

 

Jeffery Jackson was living in St. Louis when his work hours were slashed, forcing him to move to Jackson to live with his son. He looked high and low for work without success.

Then, in October of 2013, he came to Goodwill for help. He completed digital literacy and job readiness programs, which led to several interviews.

In December of 2013, he was hired as a part-time crew member by Krystal Restaurant. In the months since, he has been walking to work every day — two miles there, and two miles back. He has saved every penny he can.

Jeffery recently moved into his own two-bedroom apartment and says he has never been happier. Jeffrey was so grateful for Goodwill’s help and so proud of his progress, he asked his career counselor to visit him so he could show her the job that has restored his independence.

 

When the letter of offer finally came, Tonia Brown couldn’t believe it. She rushed over to the Union City Career Solutions Center, with the letter gripped tightly in her shaking hands, to ask District Manager Sandy Hickey what she thought. Did Jones Plastic and Engineering really intend to offer her a job as their human resources manager? They did.

The world changed for Tonia on that day. When the single mother of two and grandmother of one first came into the Career Solutions Center in April, things were not going well. The company where she had worked in human resources had relocated to Massachusetts, leaving her jobless.

At Goodwill, she got training in job-readiness, computer use, resume-building and more. She quickly found a seasonal job through a placement service, but the pay was low and she was falling behind on her bills. She applied for several different positions, got interviews and went back to Goodwill for more career counseling.

After four months in her new position, Tonia is excelling, and she and her children have moved into a new home in Paris. Now, Tonia is paying her good fortune forward. Her employer has partnered with Goodwill to host three job fairs. And the new HR director now hires directly through Career Solutions to give others the same opportunities she received.

 

Community Partner Award

Bethel University has embraced Goodwill’s mission, partnering with Goodwill for three job fairs in two West Tennessee counties, assisting 295 job-seekers and 23 local employers. Bethel serves as a referral point for Goodwill’s resources, routinely directing university students and others to Career Solutions Centers, and has invited Goodwill counselors into its classrooms.

 

Goodwill has found an enthusiastic partner in the Obion County Joint Economic Development Council. The council routinely shares job notices and information about new and expanding companies with Career Solutions, and it has invited Goodwill representatives to speak at meetings of business leaders and the public.

 

Regional Partner Award

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology has welcomed Goodwill career counselors into its classrooms across West Tennessee  and it has sent its students to Goodwill locations for training and certification in skills such as forklift operation. After receiving Goodwill job readiness training, every student in the college’s welding class was placed in a job prior to graduation.

 

Employer Partner Award

Three employers were honored during the awards luncheon. Advantage Staffing, Cox Oil and Max Trans have significantly contributed to the success of Career Solutions by hiring many of its clients this year.

 

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2013, Goodwill served 17,498 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 5,615 people in jobs. For more information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers, please visit www.giveit2goodwill.org or call 1-800-545-9231.

 

Goodwill Employee Receives Car

Donation Express Center Attendant Beneficiary of Wheels-to-Work Program

(West Tenn.) — Life’s bumpy road will be a little smoother for a West Tennessee Goodwill donations attendant, now that he is riding in a reliable car he got for free.

Raymond Moore, who works at Donation Express Centers in both Lexington and Jackson, is the beneficiary of Goodwill’s Wheels-to-Work Program, which was established to help Goodwill employees and clients who need reliable transportation to get to work. Goodwill President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas presented Moore with the keys to his “new” car — a 1999 Honda Accord — during a ceremony Friday morning at the Goodwill Career Solutions Center on West University Parkway.

Moore said the car is a huge step up from his 1992 Chevrolet Lumina. He has been fighting a losing war to keep the old car on the road, being forced to make expensive repairs, such as replacing the water pump, head gaskets and the engine. He couldn’t even drive on the interstate without the car overheating.

“Now I can get to work and church without needing to get towed and having to call somebody to pick me up,” he said.

Moore moved to Tennessee in 2009 to look for work after losing his job in Wisconsin. Two months after arriving in the Lexington area, he remained jobless. Moore’s uncle suggested he visit the nearest Goodwill Career Solutions office for help. He did and was hired as a donation attendant.

Five years later, Moore’s supervisor says he has is an excellent and reliable team member. The only thing that held him back was a lack of reliable transportation.

“It’s a big deal to me,” he said.

More Information on the Wheels-To-Work Program
More than 20 people applied to receive a vehicle through the Wheels-to-Work program. A selection committee made up of Goodwill employees from various departments helped to determine who was eligible to participate. To qualify for the program, participants had to meet certain qualifications such as being employed at least 30 hours, having a valid driver’s license and good driving record. After being notified of acceptance into the program, participants had to complete training classes on budgeting, defensive driving and car maintenance.  There are several employees and clients currently on a waiting list for the program, so if you have a vehicle you’d like to donate, know that it will be put to good use.

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2013, Goodwill served 17,498 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 5,615 people in jobs. For more information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers, visit www.giveit2goodwill.org or call 1-800-545-9231.

Goodwill Launches First Career Solutions Center In Lebanon

Grand Opening Celebration Includes Job Fair for 11 Employers Filling 500-plus Positions

(Lebanon, Tenn.) – Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee is expanding, and everyone is invited to the grand opening of our first Career Solutions center in Lebanon. The celebration will kick off with a ribbon-cutting and open house at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 1031 W. Main St.

GRAND OPENING FOR NEW CAREER SOLUTIONS CENTER

 When:

Wednesday, November 12

9 a.m. (Ribbon Cutting)

9 a.m. (Open House)

 Where:

Goodwill Career Solutions

1031 W. Main St.

Lebanon, TN  37087

The grand opening celebration will continue throughout the day with a multi-employer job fair from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Participating employers include Randstad, Manheim Nashville, Staff Management/SMX, Elwood Staffing, Metro Industrial Jobs, Staffmark, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Speedway, Enterprise Holdings Inc., Home Depot and Prospect Inc.. These employers are seeking to fill more than 500 positions in Wilson, Davidson and Rutherford counties. Openings include full and part-time positions in such areas as administration, automotive, assembly, warehouse, clerical, production and machine operation, with salaries ranging from $8 to $14.75.

Representatives from these employers will be on site and interviews are possible, so job-seekers should dress for success. Job candidates are encouraged to bring a resume, photo ID and a Social Security card or birth certificate.

 JOB FAIR FOR MULTIPLE EMPLOYERS   

 When:

Wednesday, November 12

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where:

Goodwill Career Solutions

1031 W. Main St.

Lebanon, TN  37087

This job fair is one of several taking place this week. For a complete list of job fairs taking place at Goodwill’s 28 Career Solutions centers, visit goodwillcareersolutions.org.

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2013, Goodwill served 17,498 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 5,615 people in jobs. For more information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers, visit www.giveit2goodwill.org or call 1-800-545-9231.

 

Credit Card Security Alert Does Not Involve Goodwill of Middle Tennessee

 

As you may recall, this past July Goodwill Industries International (GII) made the public aware of a potential data security compromise of some Goodwill members’ customer data.

GII and the potentially impacted Goodwill members worked extensively with an investigative expert and law enforcement authorities.

 The investigation concluded that our Goodwill has not been impacted by this data issue and our customers should feel assured that their payment card information is not affected by this issue.

The affected Goodwill members took immediate action to ensure the malware found on their third-party vendor’s systems no longer presents a threat to individuals shopping at their Goodwill stores.

So while this has no bearing on Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, you are a trusted part of the Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee family, so we wanted to reach out to you directly. We want to assure you that you can continue to have the utmost confidence in our work to create employment opportunities for job seekers facing multiple barriers to employment in middle and west Tennessee.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please call toll-free 1-800-GOODWILL. Goodwill Industries International (GII) will be available to answer your questions 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturdays; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sundays; and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays Eastern time.

Sincerly,

Matthew Bourlakas
President & CEO
Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee

Grand Opening for New Mt. Juliet Goodwill Includes iPad Mini Giveaway

Brand New Career Solutions Center to Host Job Fair on Grand Opening Day

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee is expanding and opening up its newest store, Donation Express Center and Career Solutions center, and you’re invited to the grand opening. A ribbon cutting will take place at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, May 22 at Goodwill newest store located at 1985 Providence West Parkway in Mt. Juliet. Doors will open immediately after the ribbon cutting.

Goodwill has several exciting things planned for the grand opening. If you visit the new Mt. Juliet store between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on May 22, you can sign up for a chance to win a new iPad mini. Also, the first 500 shoppers on grand opening day will be given a Goodwill tote bag. As always, Goodwill gift cards will be given away throughout the weekend.

GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION

When:
Thursday, May 22
8:45 a.m. – Ribbon Cutting
9 a.m. – Doors Open

Where:
1985 Providence West Parkway
Mt. Juliet

The new Mt. Juliet store is one of only a handful of stores Goodwill has built from the ground up. The nearly 28,400 square foot facility features a retail sales floor of more than 19,400 square feet. That’s twice the size of the current Mt. Juliet store.

A new covered drive-thru for donations will be located on the side of the store.

The new facility also houses Wilson County’s first Career Solutions center. Goodwill Career Solutions offers free one-on-one job training and placement services to people who need help getting a job.

The new center will celebrate grand opening day by hosting a job fair for several employers looking to fill more than 1,000 positions. The job fair will be held from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. Job seekers are encouraged to bring resumes, photo ID, Social Security card or birth certificate.

CAREER SOLUTIONS TO HOST JOB FAIR ON GRAND OPENING DAY

When:
Thursday, May 22
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Where:
1985 Providence West Parkway
Mt. Juliet

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2013, Goodwill served 17,498 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 5,615 people in jobs. For more information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers, visit www.giveit2goodwill.org or call 1-800-545-9231.

Celebrating Goodwill Week With 70+ Job Fairs & Events

Every year during the first full week of May, Goodwill agencies across the United States and Canada celebrate the power of work through local events and promotions.

Governor Bill Haslam has issued a state proclamation declaring the week of May 5, Goodwill Week in Tennessee.

This year, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee will celebrate Goodwill Week by hosting more than 70 events, including 50 job fairs, at the 26 Goodwill Career Solutions centers across Middle and West Tennessee.

Goodwill will kick off the week by hosting 12 events, including a huge job fair at the downtown Nashville Career Solutions center. More than 20 employers looking to fill more than 800 positions will be present. Employers include UPS, Goodwill and Holiday Inn.

JOB FAIR FOR 20+ EMPLOYERS

When:
Monday, May 5
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Where:
Goodwill Career Solutions
937 Herman Street
Nashville

Job seekers can gain early entrance to the job fair by attending a job fair success workshop at 10 a.m. on Monday. The workshop will help prepare job seekers for the job fair.

For a complete list of events taking place all across Middle and West Tennessee during Goodwill Week, visit www.giveit2goodwill.org/goodwillweek.

Grand Opening for Relocated South Jackson Goodwill Store

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has relocated its retail store and Donation Express Center on South Highland Avenue in Jackson, and you’re invited to our grand opening celebration.

Join us on Thursday, February 13, as we celebrate the opening of the new space located at 1320 South Highland Avenue. A ribbon cutting will take place at 8:45 a.m., and doors will open to the public at 9 a.m. The grand opening celebration will continue throughout the weekend with Goodwill gift card giveaways.

The new store, located just one mile from the current store, is nearly twice the size, which means more bargains. Plus, Goodwill’s new covered drive-thru located next to the store makes it easy for you to donate.

The new facility will also house Jackson’s second Career Solutions center. Goodwill Career Solutions provides free one-on-one job training and placement services to people who need help looking for, finding and keeping a job. In 2013, Goodwill served 17,498 people at our 25 Career Solutions centers in Middle and West Tennessee. Of those, 5,615 found a job.

Goodwill Store Grand Opening

When:
Thursday, February 13
8:45 a.m. – Ribbon Cutting
9 a.m. – Doors Open

Where:
1320 S. Highland Ave.
Jackson

Extended Hours at Twelve Donation Sites

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee will extend the hours of 12 donation sites.

January 2014 turned out to be the coldest month in more than a decade. When the weather turns cold, donations tend to drop. “We saw a significant decrease in donations last month,” said Karl Houston, senior director of donations. “By extending our hours, we are hoping more people will have an opportunity to donate.”

Goodwill relies heavily on donations to fulfill its mission of providing employment and training opportunities to people who have trouble finding and keeping jobs. Last year, Goodwill assisted 17,498 people in their search for work. Of those, 5,615 found a job. Houston said, “It’s because of our generous donors and shoppers that we are able to help so many people find work.”

Store sales were also down in January. “Fewer people came out to shop because of the frigid temperatures last month,” said David Jenkins, senior director of retail. “This is good news for shoppers looking for great finds.”

Donors can make an immediate impact by shopping in the stores, or by donating the following items: clothing, household goods, shoes and accessories.

Ninety-eight percent of Goodwill’s revenue comes from the sale of donated items. Donate today and change a life.

Donation sites in Middle and West Tennessee extending hours to 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.:

  • 7034 Charlotte Pk., Nashville TN 37209 (Lowe’s parking lot)
  • 3460 Dickerson Rd., Nashville TN 37207 (Lowe’s parking lot)
  • 215 Lowe’s Dr., Clarksville TN (Lowe’s parking lot)
  • 1825 Old Fort Pkwy., Murfreesboro (Lowe’s parking lot)
  • 710 Memorial Blvd., Murfreesboro (Goodwill Store parking lot)
  • 1114 Mercury Blvd., Murfreesboro (Mercury Plaza Shopping Center)
  • 4120 N. Mt. Juliet Rd., Mt. Juliet (Kroger parking lot)
  • 645 S. Cumberland St., Lebanon (Lowe’s parking lot)
  • 1301 Nashville Pk., Gallatin (Lowe’s parking lot)
  • 2008 Memorial Blvd., Springfield (Goodwill Store parking lot)
  • 657 W. Church St., Lexington (Beechlake Shopping Center)
  • 1155 Hwy. 51 Bypass West, Dyersburg (Lowe’s parking lot)

Record-Breaking Year for Goodwill Career Solutions

5,615 People Placed in Jobs in 2013

2013 turned out to be a record-breaking year for Goodwill. Career Solutions placed 5,615 people in jobs. That’s up from 3,154 in 2012.

From January to June, Goodwill Career Solutions placed an average of 340 people into job each month. From July to December, that number increased to an average of 600 each month.

There are currently 1,300 area employers actively hiring Goodwill Career Solutions clients. The increase in placements is partly due to the increase in the number of job fairs hosted by the Career Solutions centers for these employer partners. In fact, the number of job fairs more than doubled in the second part of the year.

More Information About Goodwill Career Solutions

Goodwill Career Solutions provides one-on-one job training and placement services to people who need help looking for, finding and keeping a job. Each of Goodwill’s 25 Career Solutions centers is staffed with a career counselor who works one-on-one with clients to help them meet their individual career goals. Career counselors also provide assistance with job searches, job applications, resumes and interviewing skills.

Goodwill Career Solutions offers several certification and training courses for adults. They include Call Center Training, Health Care Initiatives & Training, Document Imaging Training, Custodial Certification, Retail & Customer Service Certification, Forklift Certification and Security Guard Certification. Career Solutions also offer six computer programs: Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Course, Internet and Computing Core Certification Class (IC3), 3-Day Intro to MS Office, Digital Literacy Computer Basics, Digital Literacy Resume Writing, and Digital Literacy Online Job Search.

Nearly all of the services offered through Career Solutions are free, thanks to Goodwill’s generous donors and shoppers. When someone donates to Goodwill, those items are then placed in our retail stores, and the revenue from the sale of those items funds our mission of providing employment and training opportunities for people who have disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.

For more information about Goodwill Career Solutions, please visit goodwillcareersolutions.org.