By Bobbie Poynter
“If you get it for free, why not just give it away?”
That’s the question many people ask of employees at local Goodwill stores. Heather Hise, Marketing and Public Relations Manager of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, answered that question for the Knox County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.
“Donations to Goodwill put people to work. Goodwill promotes career counseling, job training and adult literacy programs,” said Hise.
Since opening the Barbourville store, Goodwill has employed 20 employees, 95% of which have some type of disability or economic disadvantage.
“We help link people with employment through job placement and skills development with on-the-job coaching and counseling available,” she said. “We also partner with corporations to hire employees.”
Another way Goodwill helps people find and keep jobs is to help people earn their GED. They offer free job search programs with access to the Internet, fax machines and phone.
Goodwill, she said, also offers a staffing agency to help place people with vocational disadvantages in temporary jobs.
“Transportation is a major barrier to achieving and maintaining employment,” said Hise. “So, Goodwill has developed the Cars to Work program where participants buy warranted vehicles with a 12 to 24-month refundable interest loan. In fact, we just placed 200 people with cars.”
Goodwill, she said is committed to reinvesting in the community and get as many dollars as it can into its training programs. To date, Goodwill has hired more than 2,800 people and has paid out more than $17.6 million in wages to Kentucky residents.
“Donations are critical,” said Hise. “This is the only way we make our money to help get people back to work and keep them in the workforce.”
Mary Mills, Employment Technician, with Goodwill Industries, attended the meeting with Hise. Mills’ office is based at the Barbourville store, and she wants the community to know that she is there to help individuals find employment, get their GED or get back into college. She also has the resources available to help people get back into the workforce.
Mills invites anyone who needs help or knows of someone who may need help to call her at 606-545-5070.