A decline in donations to Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina this past winter may mean bad news for the thousands of people who are retraining or adding skills to find meaningful jobs.
Sales of donated items in Goodwill’s retail stores directly fund workforce development services that have helped place 5,120 people into jobs in northwest North Carolina in 2013 and 1,110 in the Asheville area alone. That means that, across northwest North Carolina last year, every 23 minutes of every business day, Goodwill helped someone find a job.
“Donations are at the heart of our success,” says Josh Pierce, Director of Workforce Development Services for Goodwill’s western NC locations. “Our business model is simple and self-sustaining – people donate items; we sell those items in our retail stores; we take the revenue from sales and invest it in skills training and youth programs that make a difference right here in our local community.”
Goodwill serves more than 36,000 people in northwest North Carolina each year. Offerings include college credit and continuing education courses specifically targeted to local employer needs. Courses in healthcare, computer technology, and hospitality are examples of current focus areas. In addition, Goodwill’s Career Connections Centers provide job readiness training and job search assistance, including topics such as creating a winning resume, filling out a job application, and dressing appropriately for interviews.
Donations of any kind are urgently needed: clothing, electronics, home goods, furniture, jewelry, books, computer equipment and shoes are in high demand. There are more than 100 Goodwill donation centers and drop off locations in northwest North Carolina, and 27 in Buncombe County alone; most are open 7 days a week. To locate a drop-off site or retail store, visit goodwillnwnc.org.