Newnan's Goodwill center offers free career services

By JEFF BISHOP jbishop@newnan.com More than 2,000 painted lady butterflies were released by children from First Baptist preschool and local officials Tuesday as the newly remodeled Newnan Goodwill store and career center opened its doors. "All of our career services are absolutely free and it's because of you and your donations that we can bring this to the community," said Goodwill President and CEO Jane Nichols just prior to the release of the butterflies, each of which represented one person Goodwill placed in employment in 2008 in the Southern Rivers region. The regional headquarters is in Columbus, Ga.
"Anyone can use our career center, and we urge you to do that," said Nichols. The day began with a series of VIP tours through the revamped facility in Shenandoah Plaza on Bullsboro Drive. The Goodwill center now features a fully-staffed career center, a training room, and an employee break room. "We've had a $700,000 influx of money into this facility and 14 new jobs created," said Nichols. Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers is now providing residents of Newnan and Coweta County access to 16 computers, phones and a fax machine. Assistance in resume preparation is also being provided. Goodwill pledges that anyone -- no matter their age, economic status, educational background, or place of residency -- will be able to walk into Goodwill's career center and receive assistance. The Goodwill staff will provide job seekers with leads and referrals based on their interests and skill sets. Marché Boykin, who left the Georgia Department of Labor's Newnan Career Center to become the director of the Goodwill center, said that she is "so excited" about the new opportunities the facility will bring to local residents. "We want to be able to help all of the job seekers in the community," said Boykin. "We're really excited to have Marché. She's so great, and we know she's well-connected with the community," said Kari Finley, communications manager for Goodwill. "There's been a lot of interest in the career center already," Finley said. "A lot of people have wanted to know when we were going to open." She said the staff will work actively to find jobs for the unemployed. "The goal is not just to sit here and help people, but to actively find employers who have job openings and connect them with people seeking jobs," she said. Finley said the community should be "really proud of itself" for making so many donations to Goodwill. "Those donations have enabled us to do the things we're doing," said Finley. "And now we can expand the services we are offering. Sales of donations fund our entire mission." She pointed out that Goodwill does not rely on state or federal dollars and doesn't engage in fundraising campaigns. Goodwill also does not take money from the United Way. "We rely solely on the sale of donated goods," she said. "While other organizations are being forced to cut services and employees during these tough economic times, we are excited to be able to expand our mission services, especially to those areas of the state that are among the most in need," said Nichols. Goodwill's goal, she said, is to provide another outlet for people who need job placement assistance. "Hopefully, this will help take some of the burden off of local unemployment offices," said Nichols. Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers is a 501(v)3 covering 50 counties in West Georgia and East Alabama, operating 11 retail stores, three job training centers and three career centers.


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