Goodwill Industries was created in the early 1900s to help individuals reach their greatest potential.
While the non-profit has a reputation as a place where people can donate and shop for clothes, Goodwill also offers job training and employment programs for youth, adults and seniors who have barriers to employment and need assistance to find work, advance in their career or to gain greater independence.
There are two Goodwill stores in Salem which support Goodwill’s mission programming: one at 1830 W Main Street and another at 1493 E Main Street.
“I’ve worked at the Lakeside Plaza Goodwill since November 2018. As the front lead, I am responsible for making sure the store is presentable for customers. It’s so nice to come to work and be surrounded by positive people,” Anne Radford said. “I would say women’s clothing and our houseware selection are our most popular items. We have a little something for everybody.”
Kelly Sandridge, Vice President of Brand Strategy and External Affairs for the Roanoke Valley, says there are some common misconceptions people have about Goodwill Industries.
“In today’s social media world, people are fed inaccurate information about many non-profits,” she said. “It’s important to us that people in our area understand that we are a local non-profit. Our stores’ fund training and employment programs to help our neighbors get back to work.”
Programs such as healthcare training provide pathways for individuals to secure careers. Last year, approximately 90 percent of Goodwill’s revenue led to more than 3,300 area residents finding a job and earning a paycheck. There are currently over 100 positions that need to be filled. Volunteers, and many of them, are also needed.
“Goodwill has many job openings throughout the area. They include those in retail stores, working with individuals we serve or in support areas such as Human Resources and Finance,” Sandridge said. “We have opportunities that allow volunteers to work directly with individuals served through Goodwill programs or to help with other projects.”
Roanoke County resident Clarence English, a father of four, remembers struggling to find steady employment after he was let go of his factory job of two decades. “After several failed attempts, a friend recommended that I apply to Goodwill. I’m glad that I took his advice because I’ve had a full-time job ever since,” he said.
Sandridge’s response is simple when people ask how they can join the Goodwill Industries of the Valleys team as an employee: “simply visit www.goodwillvalleys.com/career or contact 540-581-0620.”
She added: “Goodwill programs meet people in our community where they are to help them gain the skills they need for greater independence, earn credentials to secure a pathway to a career and advance their skills to improve their employability. Our services are available to everyone.”