Albert V. has a felony on his record, and finding employment was almost impossible. “It was so hard to find a job. I am a hardworking man who got caught up in a situation that turned my life upside down and left me with a felony; I lost my job, my car and my home.”
Fortunately, Albert discovered Goodwill Industries of the Columbia’s Employment Connection Center (ECC), where we provide free, walk-in job assistance to any member of the community. Our ECC staff works to build relationships with local employers to identify job postings and hold hiring events, and jobseekers have access to computers, printers and workshops to assist with topics such as résumé development, mock interviews and online job search.
Goodwill’s Employment Connection Center had and overall growth of 237 percent in persons served during 2015
Albert continued, “At 50-years-old and with a felony, it is not easy to find employment. I tried other agencies with no real success. After numerous applications and interviews that led to nowhere, I tried Goodwill. I came into the ECC frustrated and angry, but I also knew it was my own fault for bringing this trouble into my life. Goodwill staff were so very nice, helpful and knowledgeable. They made me smile and find some hope when they suggested a “letter of explanation” to send with my résumé and cover letter. This letter explained my felony and what I am doing today to get my life back on track. It was a tremendous tool that gave me more confidence in applying for jobs. Through their guidance and using this tool, I applied for jobs and I am working today at a big factory that was willing to take a chance on me.”
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Albert’s story is one of hundreds of job placements that Goodwill Industries of the Columbia was proud to be a part of in 2015. We were able to serve thousands of people with barriers to employment. We are committed to providing outstanding service and have a passion for helping people get back on their feet. Albert’s experience was very positive. He said: “Had I known that the staff at Goodwill would be so helpful, courteous and confidence-building, I would have come here first. They showed me what I could do, and helped me to believe in myself. If you’re tired of bumping into walls and really want a job, Goodwill staff can help and give you the tools to help yourself.”
While 2015 was an incredible year for Goodwill’s ECC, boasting an overall growth of 237 percent in persons served and 347 percent in job placements since 2012, our plans for 2016 are even bigger. We will open ECCs in both Hermiston and Pendleton that will provide the same free employment services as our ECC in Pasco. We will also take our ECC services to smaller communities throughout the region with our mobile ECC. This will allow us to partner with local libraries in remote areas and take ECC services directly to them in an effort to serve those who cannot travel to connect with us.
The new ECC services are just a part of Goodwill’s plans for 2016. We partnered with Columbia Industries to turn the former Shop CI facility into a Goodwill retail store for east Kennewick. The partnership allows Columbia Industries and Goodwill to focus on our industries of expertise and continue our mutual missions to provide employment and training services. The east Kennewick Goodwill opened on Jan. 14, and employs 16 retail staff while serving as a training site to an additional 16 individuals with disabilities.
Albert’s story is what Goodwill is all about. We are striving to find and meet our neighbors who need a boost, guidance and hope. Goodwill Industries of the Columbia is incredibly blessed to be a part of such a giving and supportive community. Your donations are the key to helping us provide free services to any community member who needs it. We are so thankful for your continued support.