Opportunity knocks … but sometimes it rolls

By Amanda Grover, Career Supports Manager

e-bus

One thing that can be consistently changing is a person’s financial situation. Managing your money, planning for the future, and identifying resources is incredibly daunting. Money doesn’t need to be a taboo subject; and I personally have found incredible value in financially planning ahead for emergencies and reaching longer term goals. There was nothing more fulfilling than paying off my first car loan.

Luckily, there are resources available right here in our community and it’s exciting to be a part of the Fifth-Third Financial Empowerment “eBus” event here at the Goodwill Career Center on Wednesday, July 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Everyone’s invited!

This 40-foot bus is a mobile classroom equipped with workstations and friendly Fifth Third Bank staff ready to connect people with the financial tools they need. After traveling to many communities throughout the country, the Fifth Third eBus staff have a strong understanding of what individuals need and want from banks and financial institutions.

Just inside the Career Center, we will be hosting a Goodwill Financial Fair. There will be other community partner organizations on site to share vocational and education programs, and to help identify ways to increase income through employment. There will also be programs to help people with goals and issues related to home ownership and housing. Additionally, for those looking for more immediate employment, GoodTemps Staffing will be conducting open job interviews.

I’ve had lots of people come to me with great stories that have been a result of attending previous financial events. Personal stories such as gaining access to a bank account for the first time (in some cases after being repeatedly denied), enrolling in vocational programs that have increased their income, learning that earning a degree or owning their own home is possible, overcoming difficult debt struggles, and more … prove these events can be life changing.

It’s exciting to work with so many community partners and to see support from organizations all working to help people achieve their personal goals. Come join us and tell anyone you know who could benefit from these services!

The Goodwill Career Center is located at 271 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon. We are around the corner from Goodwill Headquarters. The entrance and parking lot are located off of Sophia Street.

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Growing pains and bragging rights

By JD Wallace, GoodTemps Manager

GoodTemps Temporary Staffing Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Goodwill, has a lot to be proud of. In less than four years, we’ve made a significant impact on the employment scene in West Michigan, and not just because of the shift to temporary employment in this post-recession environment.

GoodTemps is classified as an alternative staffing organization. “Alternative” meaning we are a not-for-profit company and are mission driven. Many of the people we work with have experienced barriers to employment; a condition that hinders or prevents an individual from obtaining and/or retaining a job. Common “barriers” include: chronic unemployment, transportation issues, lack of job skills, little or no job experience, criminal background, mental or physical disabilities, and more.

When I joined GoodTemps in July 2009, we had about three or four dozen people working at various employers, and just a few workers that were eventually offered permanent employment. Fast forward to today, and we have over 220 individuals working full time, every day in temporary assignments, serving more than 40 employers.

Credit for our growth goes in part to a generous grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This three-year grant has allowed us to develop organizational capacity, hire key staff, expand technology platforms, and develop two vital proprietary training programs to increase work readiness skills and the probability of success of our candidates.

We leveraged these assets to build capacity and create a robust staffing company. We gained much-needed visibility in the community through our marketing plan and networking abilities. We created and implemented an extensive job-retention manual and program for our workers, that over time, has proven to reduce workplace problems, employee turnover, and increase productivity. Additionally, we developed a comprehensive financial literacy class for our workers, many of whom are earning paychecks for the first time and lack banking or money management skills.

As a result of these extensive employee supports, we have scores of success stories about individuals and their families who have been gainfully employed through GoodTemps, many of whom have eventually worked their way into permanent assignments with local companies, at a competitive wage.

In 2012, we engaged 933 individuals in 1,479 job assignments, with 214 of those placed into permanent employment. While the results of these numbers is impressive, I believe one of the most significant numbers for the year ending 2012 is that we had a payroll for our workers in excess of $3.6 million, and that money stays in the community!

As we enter 2013, we continue to look for ways to increase awareness of our organization and its mission. We have a story to tell and you are welcome to help share it. After all, when GoodTemps serves its mission, employers benefit, workers benefit, and the whole community benefits!