Lots of Goodwill in the news

We’ve been in the news a lot lately. Word has been spreading about our new customer service training, which Shane Pekny talked about last month. We held a press conference at our headquarters on Monday morning, and several local media outlets covered the announcement:

Program receives $2 million grant – Omaha World-Herald
Grant will cover job training – Omaha World-Herald
Feds Give $2M Boost To Local Job Training Program – KETV

Goodwill was also mentioned in a recent KETV story about Amendment 1, the upcoming Nebraska ballot initiative.

If approved, amendment one would allow cities and counties to issue revenue bonds on behalf of non-profits, who would then assume all financial responsibility. For those groups, it’s the chance to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest.

Goodwill for example, is planning at least five new multi-million dollar facilities in the area over the next six to seven years. “We feel that if we can finance future projects at a much lower interest rate, we are going to be able to further the mission of Goodwill, which again is providing support, employment and training for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment,” [Goodwill Executive Vice President Andy] Bradley said.

Move Update: April

Welcome to our monthly Goodwill moving update. Here’s what’s happened since we left you last month. Meetings. That’s right. Meeting after meeting after meeting.

The smaller committees have met. The bigger committees have met. We’ve met with construction companies, architects, technology companies and interior designers. Oh…and phone companies. And moving companies. And all sorts of other people. It really hasn’t been that exciting. Unless you like meetings. If you like meetings, it has been awesome.

Of course all these meetings are for the purpose of planning. Which is good. We need a pretty good plan to pull off something this big. We are getting closer and closer to the move, and we need to have some idea of what the heck we are going to do. Thanks to these meetings, that picture gets clearer by the day.

We also have some updates on construction. We were just approved to begin construction on the new Retail Operations Center. Changes will be underway immediately, as the plan is to be in that building by June 1. We are still waiting for approval for the first wave of construction at our new headquarters, but we hope to be ready to go in 4-6 weeks.

So there you have it. A lot of meetings and the beginning of construction. It doesn’t sound like much, but the groundwork we lay in the spring will make for successful moves in the summer.

Employee of the Month: March

Back last summer when I was still new at Goodwill, Shari Wallace would always refer to Holly Schwietz as “my friend Holly – with the red hair.” While the red hair thing still applies, Shari could’ve also said “my friend Holly – the walking embodiment of Goodwill’s mission.”

While that admittedly doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily, it doesn’t make it any less true! Holly, who is a Work Experience trainer at the Madison store in Council Bluffs, is known by her peers as a positive source of morale, and someone who is always driven by what is best for participants and the agency.

“She is the type of person who is always trying to make situations as positive as possible and teach those she works with the same,” said one of her coworkers. “She is an example for everyone through her daily actions and words.”

“Holly is very gracious and helpful,” reads her nomination form. “She is not only there for the store, but for customers as well.”

“Spending just 10 minutes with Holly lets you know she is someone who cares about people,” a coworker said. “Holly is one of the people I hope my staff are able to model their behavior after.”

Holly lives in Council Bluffs with her son, Peter, who is a senior in high school and a Deaf All-American on the National Champion Iowa School for the Deaf football team. She has a green thumb and is looking forward to the growing season.

Congratulations, Holly, and thanks for all you do for Goodwill and the Work Experience program!