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!