10 Nov GOODWILL HONORS OUTSTANDING PARTNERS, CLIENTS
Stories of Success, Determination Celebrated at Jackson Impact Luncheon
(West Tenn.) — A newly widowed, former business owner who found a fresh start at a country store. A young family on the verge of losing everything who were saved by taking a new route home. These were among the stories of hard work, support and redemption celebrated by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee at its Impact Luncheon awards ceremony in Jackson Thursday.
WBBJ-TV’s Bart Barker emceed the well-attended event at the DoubleTree Hotel, where four clients, two employer partners, a community partner and a regional partner of Goodwill Career Solutions were honored.
In his opening remarks, Goodwill President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas announced that Goodwill’s 30 Career Solutions centers have already surpassed their 2015 goals of providing employment assistance to more than 30,000 people and finding jobs for 11,000. So far this year, 32,444 people have been served and 11,126 have found jobs.
Graduates of the Year:
When Connie Wiggins’ husband died three years ago, the part-time Realtor’s only other means of support was a small trucking company they had run together. But soon the trucking company’s sole client went out of business, and Wiggins was forced to shut her company down.
With real estate moving slowly in Union City, the then-66-year-old widow knew she needed help. She decided to give the Goodwill Career Solutions Center a try. She completed a basic computer skills class and got help with her resume. She also completed a food safety training course.
Armed with refreshed skills and renewed confidence, she started looking for work. From Hamilton-Ryker staffing agency she learned about an opening up at O’Neal’s Country Store, a gift shop in Union City. Wiggins applied and was quickly brought on board.
She recently celebrated her one-year anniversary, and the store’s owner calls her an “absolute godsend.” She greets customers, helps decorate gift baskets, works the cash register, restocks shelves and more. Wiggins enjoys her job and says Goodwill prepared her to succeed.
Despite his movie star name, Gary Cooper was not exactly living a Hollywood lifestyle.
The Jackson retiree wanted some spending money and longed to have funds for a vacation.
He had seen TV commercials for Goodwill about how the not-for-profit helps people with training and employment opportunities, and one day he popped into the North Jackson Goodwill Career Solutions center.
There, he completed job readiness training, got help updating his resume received his forklift certification and got plenty of encouragement. Then, at a local job fair, Cooper met a representative of Home Instead Senior Care. Now, he’s an in-home caregiver.
Home Instead Senior Care’s general manager calls Cooper an exceptional employee who has a passion for what he does, giving his all for the clients he serves. Today, Cooper is more financially independent and able to do things he couldn’t before. He says Goodwill Career Solutions helped him reach that point. “They gave me hope,” he said.
To Teresa Horn, it seemed like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Though she had been providing day care for friends’ children at her residence, she rarely got paid. Her husband was unemployed, and the young couple was at risk of losing their car and the home they shared with their daughter.
Teresa had applied for numerous retail jobs, and each time she was told she didn’t have the right experience and turned away. After her last rejection, she sat in her car and cried. And she prayed.
On a whim, she decided to take a new route home. Along the way, she stopped in at the Goodwill Career Solutions Center on South Highland Avenue in Jackson. She took a job readiness class, then returned to the center every day to search for jobs online.
When a spot came open in a Goodwill retail training class, Teresa jumped at the chance. She never missed a class, even during a snowstorm, and after graduating she was hired on at the South Jackson Goodwill store. Her supervisor says she is doing an excellent job, and she feels confident she will be promoted.
After seeing Teresa’s success, her husband Jonathan Horn decided to give Goodwill Career Solutions a try. He got help with his resume and his interviewing skills. and he got connected with potential employers at Goodwill-hosted job fairs. During one of those events, he applied for a job with Corrections Corporation of America. After going through CCA’s training program, the company offered him a job as a corrections officer at the Whiteville Correctional Facility.
Jonathan said a burden fell off his shoulders at that moment. He knew he could once again care for his family.
Teresa and Jonathan love their new jobs, and through their employment the family has been able to move into a nicer, roomier home.
Community Partner Award
The City of Martin has provided space for seven Goodwill Career Solutions-hosted job fairs at City Hall so far this year, drawing 184 job-seekers. Of those, 79 have been placed into jobs. The city also helps promote the events, posting fliers online and reporting on the number of hires.
Regional Partner Award
Hamilton-Ryker has placed 164 Goodwill clients into jobs this year in West Tennessee, in part as the result of several Goodwill-hosted job fairs. The staffing agency works closely with Goodwill career counselors and has demonstrated a willingness to hire those whose backgrounds are less than perfect.
Employer Partner Awards
Two employers were honored during the awards luncheon. Staff Management / SMX and Krystal have significantly contributed to the success of Goodwill Career Solutions by hiring many of its clients this year.
For more information on how Goodwill is impacting the lives of others read our 2014 Annual Report.VIEW REPORT
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 2014, Goodwill served 28,159 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 9.558 people in jobs. More information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers can be obtained online at www.giveit2goodwill.org or by calling 1-800-545-9231