When you think of Goodwill, do you think of jobs? You should!

By Tiffany Fry

As I go out and about in the community, I always have fun when I talk about our Waco Goodwill Learning Center. A lot of folks I meet have shopped and/or donated goods to our retail stores. This is always great to hear! And no worries to any folks that have not. One of my roles as the Learning Center coordinator is to share the work of our mission services. Mission services you say? Why yes, we at Heart of Texas Goodwill actively pursue the full participation of folks with barriers in society through our employment and training programs. We fulfill this mission through our four Learning Centers located in Waco, Belton, Temple, and Killeen.

At our Waco center, we provide employment readiness and computer training services. While our focus is on folks that have barriers such as unemployment, criminal history, etc. or disabilities, we will serve anyone that walks through our doors. Our employment readiness includes job search assistance, career exploration, resume preparation, interview skill training, and job retention training. These services are offered in both class and individual sessions. Our Job Opportunity Boot Camp is a weeklong workshop that covers all of our employment readiness topics in a class setting. In addition, one of the services I’m most proud of at our Learning Center is that we can meet with you on an individual basis and provide our employment readiness services to you as many times as you need. Want to learn how to write a resume and then practice interviewing two or three times? Just schedule an appointment with our staff! We have a heart for teaching and equipping people with the skills they need to successfully find and maintain employment.

Additionally, when you visit us, you can learn about two of our initiatives, Operation Good Jobs and Careers in Retail. Operation Good Jobs is a program that helps veterans and their immediate family members find and maintain employment in a field of their choice. Through this initiative, financial assistance can be provided for education, credentialing, and/or training. Our second initiative, Careers in Retail, is a program to equip people with the skills they need to move into mid-level and/or supervisory positions in the retail, hospitality, and restaurant industries. Training and certifications are provided at no cost for participants enrolled in the program.

Speaking of no cost, we also provide free weekly computer classes. We offer beginner classes in Computer Basics, Internet & Email, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel. Additionally, we offer $10 Continuing Education classes through McLennan Community College. Currently, our MCC classes are Basic Workplace Computer Skills, Word 2010, and Excel 2010. These classes provide more in-depth training and are useful for folks that want to learn about certain Microsoft Office Suite programs for the workplace.

And our services do not end there! We know it’s important to equip folks with the skills they need on the job readiness end of the spectrum, but we also want to connect our participants to businesses in our community. We work to build relationships with businesses so that we can refer our qualified participants to hiring managers. Additionally, we host monthly hiring events for businesses around the community. Our hiring events are a great opportunity to help our community members get placed into local jobs.

All that to say we certainly have quite a bit that goes on in our center. At the same time, I am reminded that our learning center is a part of the whole picture of folks working hard to make our community a better place. A big part of my job is to build relationships with community organizations and I’m constantly meeting people that have great ideas of how to better develop our workforce. I think it’s important that individuals and organizations engaged in workforce development partner and strategize together. We can better address the challenges many of our community members face with employment by looking at our community holistically and connecting workforce development to education, health, and financial stability. I have to say I am encouraged by the work going on in our community with the Prosper Waco initiative and I hope that we can all continue the work that has been done to make Waco a better place. I know on our end, we will certainly continue to work hard to fulfill our mission to build an inclusive workforce!

Tiffany FryTiffany Fry made one of the best decisions of her life by switching from UT Austin to Baylor at the last minute. She graduated in 2011 and decided to make Waco her home. She is a thankful graduate of the Diana Garland School of Social Work MSW program. In her spare time she likes to hang out with her cat, husband, and friends (in no particular order), be outside, and read history books. Feel free to contact Tiffany at [email protected] or 254-753-7337 x 140.   

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.


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