The March issue of The Clothes Line is now available for download!

In this month’s issue:

  • We learn about Goodwill Omaha’s new safety initiatives…
  • We get to know Robert Popejoy, our January Employee of the Month…
  • We hear a great story about coworkers looking out for the environment and each other…
  • Erin Burke tells us about a new partnership between UNO’s Service Learning Academy and a group of North High students…
  • Brent Koster teases spring by informing us about Goodwill’s grounds maintenance services…
  • Another exciting word search…
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and new hires…
  • …and more!

Visit our Publications page to download your copy today!

Trashed: a documentary on sustainable trash disposal

The driving concept behind Goodwill’s Donate movement is that the donation of used clothing and household items keeps them out of landfills, thus protecting our environment. But we as a society have a long way to go! “Trashed” is a 20-minute documentary that dives into the muck that we all discard, following our junk from disposal to its eternal resting place, and examining what this process says about our society in between. You can watch it free online here:

If you don’t have 20 minutes to spare, Sustainablog has outlined the five major problems created by our “throwaway” culture that are presented in the film:

  • There is a limited amount of landfill space. In 2007, the largest landfill in the United States held 100 million tons of trash. The maximum occupancy of the landfill is 150 million tons, and this number will be reached in the very near future (possibly in 2013).
  • We throw away out of convenience. Because societal conventions have us constantly wanting to move on to the next fad or technology, we are throwing away televisions, cell phones, computers, and other plastics in exchange for shinier new ones. Unsurprisingly, these new technologies will also become our future garbage.
  • Not all trash in the ocean will wash ashore. While some of the debris that comes into the ocean from rivers and storm drains eventually washes ashore, a great deal of trash will break up to become micro-particles. What’s more, certain parts of the ocean concentrate this debris. For instance, the Eastern Garbage Patch off the Pacific Coast is twice the size of Texas. Trash particles are funneled into this area causing major environmental concerns.
  • Plastic in the ocean does more than just pollute. It also acts as a giant sponge for oil, making ocean clean up that much more difficult and ocean life that much more at risk. As just one example, birds that go to the ocean for food mistake floating plastic debris for fish and feed it to their young. When these birds die and decay, one can see their remains. These consist of bones, feathers, and the plastic lighters and bottle caps that killed the birds.
  • Products retain little economic value regarding how they are disposed of. Caring about trash is not just environmentally conscious; it’s also economic. Currently, products are valued for the tasks they perform; yet, what also needs to be of importance is how the product is disposed of. This concept will assuredly create economic incentives for “greener” and more recyclable materials.

To learn more about the environmental friendliness of donating, Goodwill Omaha, and GII’s Donate movement, visit our going green section.

Customer Service career fair on February 29, 2012

Top Omaha-area companies will be at Goodwill’s 72nd & Ames Headquarters on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 to share information on open positions in the customer service field. Stop by 4805 N 72nd St. from 1pm to 4pm to meet with representatives from these companies. Be prepared for potential on-the-spot interviews — bring your resume and dress professionally!

The job fair is free and open to the public. Please do not dress casually or bring children to the event.

We hope to see you there! If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Customer Connect Manager Ginny Powell at 402.231.1939 or [email protected].

Happy Valentine’s Day from Goodwill Omaha!

Fact: there is nothing more fun on Valentine’s Day than handing out Valentine’s Day cards to your friends and lovers. NOTHING.

And since we at Goodwill Omaha are all about respecting the unbreakable absolutes of fun, we present you with our very own Goodwill employment and retail-themed Valentines! Not only can you admire them here on our blog, but we have a printable version of all six Valentines (2 MB .pdf) available for download! Print them out, pair them with a piece of candy, and spend hours stressing about which card to give to which person and what subtle messages that selection might send!

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Dept of Labor: Why green jobs are good for women

The green industry is expanding rapidly, often creating more job opportunities than there are qualified applicants. Yet as this jobs explosion takes place, many women continue to work within traditionally female-dominated industries, typically with much fewer prospects for growth and advancement. To address this disparity, the U.S. Department of Labor’s released “Why green is your color: A woman’s guide to a sustainable career” (PDF – 16 mb), a 128-page collection of industry overviews, education info, labor research, job search help, entrepreneurship guidance, external references and other tips.

Leading off the guide is a list of seven reasons why green jobs are good for women:

Reason 1: A green job can provide the chance to earn more. The study reports that women continue to be concentrated in traditionally female occupations, which both stunts earning potential and isolates them from emerging green jobs.

Construction carpenter is a green occupation projected to have 325,400 job openings from 2008-2018. Carpenters, 98 percent of whom are men, earned a median wage of $18.98 an hour in 2009. In contrast, preschool teachers, 98 percent of whom are women, earned $11.80 an hour. With these wages, a preschool teacher would have to work 24 more hours per week to earn the same amount as a carpenter.

Reason 2: You can start with any skill level and move along a career path. While having a college education can open up additional opportunities, the lack of a degree does not prevent women from developing and rising through the green jobs ranks.

Green jobs provide opportunities to advance from low-skill, entry-level positions to high-skill, higher-paying jobs. For example, an entry-level worker might gain hands-on experience by assisting a more experienced worker while working toward a certificate. After a few years of work and further training, she can advance to both higher-level responsibilities and higher pay. This path is an opportunity for a woman who hasn’t attended college.

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Renovating old buildings can be greener than LEED-certified new ones

Environmentally friendly construction is often associated with new buildings, creatively efficient floorplans and exotic, space-age building materials — but sometimes, the most environmentally friendly solution is to use what we already have.

GOOD Magazine has a new article online about the environmental-friendliness of renovating old buildings. GOOD cites new research from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (PDF – 10.7 MB), which concludes “…that building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction.” This ties in nicely with YouthBuild Omaha’s new partnership and commitment to environmental responsibility!

While previously, YouthBuild Omaha worked only with Habitat for Humanity to build new homes for local families, the program has also recently partnered with the Abide Network, a local organization committed to transforming and restoring urban neighborhoods and communities through home ownership. Environmental friendliness isn’t an explicit part of Abide’s mission, but sometimes great goals converge.

Abide Network buys condemned homes in North Omaha for an average of about $5,000 per home. Volunteers like the YouthBuild participants donate their time to renovate these homes. The majority of materials are also donated. The homes are then sold to low-income families at zero-percent interest.

Miriam Blair, YouthBuild program coordinator, shared the story of YouthBuild Omaha’s first meeting with Abide Network Executive Director Ron Dotzler in this month’s Clothes Line, which included a presentation on the organization’s goals and methods.

He showed them a large map of North Omaha, where red push pins identified violent crimes in the community over a five-year time span. Many of the students gasped in amazement, as there wasn’t even a hint of white shining through.

Mr. Dotzler went on to explain the importance of home ownership in a crime ridden community. “When people own their homes they take pride in their neighborhoods, which in turn leads to less crime,” he said.

He then showed them another map very similar to the first, with one colossal exception — due to the home renovations they’d done, a community nestled in the middle of the first map only had three violent crimes committed in the last year.

Abide itself is housed in a renovated home in North Omaha — the building was refurbished using donated materials, including paneling in the living room from an old bowling alley, tables from a Burger King, and parts of pews from an old church.

With the right selection of materials and processes, renovating single-family homes can result in 10-35% reduction in environmental impact when measuring factors like resource depletion and human health effects. And it can save and strengthen communities too!

Tonight’s Annual Dinner has been postponed

The 2011 Annual Awards dinner scheduled for tonight, February 4, 2012, has been postponed due to the weather.

A reschedule date has not yet been set, but the important thing is to stay safe tonight! We will be in touch when we have more information, but in the meantime, be safe, smart and warm, and if you have any questions, please contact your supervisor.