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VOL. 129 | NO. 165 | Monday, August 25, 2014

Dr. Mary C. McDonald

Goodwill Center Helps Job Seekers Reclaim Dreams

By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

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The event was held in the shadow of the shuttered Raleigh Springs Mall, in the expanded section of the Goodwill store at 3830 Austin Peay Highway. It was the grand opening of the Goodwill Job Center.

He stood tall in the crowd that gathered to celebrate this milestone in addressing joblessness and underemployment in Memphis. It was not just his 6 feet, 7 inches that towered over the crowd, it was his lifetime of being a sign of hope for others that set him apart, and his passion for lifting those in need that made him seem even taller.

Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, native Memphian, NBA superstar, dedicated member of the board of Goodwill Memphis, came to play. It wasn’t basketball he was about, it was jobs.

He stood in Hardaway Hall, a free community resource located inside the Job Center, next to an action shot with a quote of his that reads, “Don’t use the inner city as an excuse to fail. You can overcome your circumstances. Always dream big.” And that’s what the Goodwill Job Center is all about, reclaiming dreams of all sizes through job training and placement.

The Goodwill Jobs Center sign went up three weeks ago, and in the first 15 days, almost 100 people walked in for services and classes.

“That says a lot about the need for these services, and we expect that number will explode after today’s official announcement,” said Tony Martini, CEO of Goodwill. “Memphis Goodwill has been part of this community since 1927, and our mission has always been to help people move beyond barriers to employment.”

The new Goodwill Job Center is a big step in expanding that mission and making a variety of free job readiness services available to all. The staff of The Goodwill Job Center has partnerships with many agencies to build referral channels and to let people know about this new job training resource. These partners include AT&T, Medtronic and Versant Staffing, among others.

Goodwill Memphis is seeking additional opportunities with other Memphis, Shelby County and Mid-South partners as the center grows and expands.

“The center was formerly called the Vocational Rehab Center and served a smaller population with very specialized training needs,” said Trina Jones, VP of Communications. “This expanded Job Center adds a broader menu of services to anyone who needs help with job readiness and job search training,”

True to Hardaway’s quote, Goodwill is dreaming big. Memphis Goodwill plans to open additional Job Centers throughout the city to make it convenient for the people who need these services to attend the training and counseling sessions.

The Goodwill Job Center will also work with community resource partners to host events that can bring employers and job seekers together. One such example is a Kelly Services warehouse job fair hosted at the Job Center Aug. 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 901-384-6745.

Memphis Goodwill is working to eliminate not just excuses, but unemployment, for all citizens in our community.

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a National Education Consultant, at 574-2956 or visit mcd-partners.com.

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