When the local Goodwill changed locations last month, one of the new aspects included in the store was a Career Services Center.
That center is meant to provide free employment services for community members and business owners, and its first event will be held Thursday, where five area employers will be interviewing and hiring for several open positions. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Goodwill Career Center at 1430 N. West Ave. and include Timberlane Health & Rehabilitation, Oak Ridge Health & Rehabilitation, Manpower and the South Arkansas Developmental Center for Children & Families, which will also have another segment of its organization represented.
Angela Haynes, program specialist at the Career Services Center, said the jobs available at Thursday’s event are a wide variety, “everything from A to Z, just about.” The employers will do on-site interviews and hire on the spot, she said, and applicants are asked to attend “dressed to impress” and armed with a resume, if possible.
Even if someone is not ready to apply for a job, Haynes said they should consider coming and checking the place out.
“It’s a great time for people to come out and just see what we are doing at the Goodwill,” Haynes said. “It’s a chance for them to see the career center, to talk to me personally and get a feel for what we do and what we can do for them.”
Haynes said the center will help job seekers put together a resume and cover letter, practice filling out applications and interviewing, personality assessments and even an outfit for interviews. And all at no cost.
“Everything is free,” Haynes said.
But Haynes was clear that her role is not to find each individual who comes in a job, but simply give them the tools they need to be able to find, secure and keep a good job that sets them up for a more successful life.
“I’m just here to get people career-ready,” Haynes said, adding that she is ready to help in whatever ways she can. “Everyone’s needs are different so I will adapt what services I do offer to give them what they need.”
She noted that with the career center only having been open for about one month, she is still working on establishing relationships with area employers and let them know about the opportunities available by working with the center.
For employers, the career center can organize recruitment and hiring events at no cost to the business. Those events, she said, are done without almost any effort on the part of the business, as the center will handle all aspects of organization and the employers simply have to show up and be ready to interview and hire on the spot. Haynes said the center also can take on pre-screening of applicants.
“If (employers) have any job openings available, let me know, please,” Haynes said. “That kind of gives me a better opportunity to know what’s out there for placement.”
The career center’s services are offered free as the bulk of proceeds from sales at the Goodwill store go to fund these centers. Haynes said 96 percent of Goodwill’s revenue comes from the store’s sales and, before the new store opened last month, El Dorado and Union County were not seeing the positive end of that as there was no Goodwill Career Center in the area. With the new location, the local store’s proceeds will be able to benefit the local community, Haynes said.
“That’s something that El Dorado has not seen before,” Haynes said.
The local career center, which is the newest one in the state, is also one of only two locations in the state that are south of Little Rock, she said. Statewide, she said, Goodwill Career Centers have helped more than 6,000 people get jobs since July.
“We’re just hoping to see how it helps in El Dorado,” Haynes said, noting that she’s already had about 30 clients since opening last month and has placed quite a few already. “We’re working hard.”
To take advantage of the free services, just call Haynes at 870-444-6820 to set up an appointment. The center does take walk-ins, but Haynes said she is often out in the community and the best way to ensure she’s there is to set up an appointment in advance. Clients must be at least 16 years old, be willing to have one-on-one counseling sessions with Haynes and have a phone that they can access daily. Clients also will be required to inform Haynes when they are hired and keep in touch with her for about a month or so to report on their progress.
The Goodwill Career Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The store is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]