AbilityOne art now on display at Goodwill Omaha headquarters

We told you last month about our first ever AbilityOne Meet and Greet, where AbilityOne employees and their families spent an afternoon getting to know each other, having lunch and enjoying some other activities. One of those activities was a painting project in which AbilityOne employees chose a word that reflected themes in Goodwill’s mission, vision and values and used that inspiration to create a work of art.

And the art is now up in the main hall at Goodwill Omaha’s Benson Park Plaza headquarters! Entitled “The Power of Work,” the collection includes seven paintings depicting themes like “Diversity,” “Excellence,” “Community” and “Empowerment.” Each of the artists — all of whom are AbilityOne employees — also shared thoughts behind their inspiration.

So stop by and check them out! Our Benson Park Plaza headquarters is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This week’s READY workshops: Digital Literacy, Ethics and Job Search

Every week, Goodwill Omaha presents free READY workshops designed to enhance your job readiness skills. The workshops are free and open to the public, and they are held from 1:00pm – 3:00pm at the Workforce Solutions Center, 2421 N. 24th St. (24th & Lake) in Omaha. To sign up, call 402-231-1978.

Here’s what we have coming up this week:

Monday, July 30: Digital Literacy
“E-mail us your resume.” “Apply online.” These days, it seems like almost everything in the job-application realm is done online. If you haven’t had an opportunity to get too familiarized with computers and the internet, it can be hard enough before you factor in how quickly things are changing! In this session, you will get up to speed on current trends in technology and how to navigate the digital world to better prepare you for your job search.

Tuesday, July 31: Ethics
Ethical workers are good workers, and an ethical workplace is a positive workplace. Learn more about how ethics and how we exemplify them in the workplace can contribute to a productive professional environment.

Thursday, August 2: Job Search
Do you have a strategy for your job search, or is it a shot-in-the-dark approach? What resources are best suited for the type of work you’re looking for? There’s more to a job search than just opening up the classifieds. Find out how to best utilize your energy and resources to find the job that’s best for you!

The August issue of The Clothes Line is now ready to download!

In this month’s issue:

  • Get an update on the preparations to open our newest store…
  • Meet TWO Employees of the Month and a Manager of the Quarter…
  • We learn about a Goodwill Industries International training that took place under our roof…
  • We get an update on the disappearing trash compactors with some awesome year-to-date recycling statistics……
  • We marvel at the remodeling at our West Center store…
  • We find out about our Workforce Investment Act audit preparations…
  • Seven members of the Goodwill family talk about their recent sky diving experience…
  • Another exciting word search…
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and new hires…
  • …and more!

Visit our Publications page to download your copy today!

Training the Trainers

Representatives from seven different Goodwill agencies in Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Quebec came to our Benson Park Plaza headquarters for the training session.

Goodwill Omaha was pleased to have visitors from Goodwill Industries International (GII) onsite to train the Donated Goods Retail Management Development Program on July 12th and 13th.

GII developed this program to assist individual agencies with their Donated Goods/Retail manager training needs. Representatives from as near as Des Moines, IA and as far away as Montreal, Quebec, Canada completed the workshop.

Retail management topics such as donor systems, stock rotation, retail metrics, financials and customer service were covered and facilitated by GII Management Development Program Manager Andrea Cole along with Bill Parrish and Mark Gustafson.

A unique component of this training program is each participant is responsible for training the others on a portion of the material. They then receive feedback from the other students and facilitators to help assist them in their platform training skills. All participants who complete the workshop earn the GII Certified Trainer credential. The program is a great jump start for trainers to take the materials back and present to their own employees.

Our Goodwill was pleased to participate in this training opportunity and learn from other agencies. Once again our facilities proved to be a great building to accommodate our guests for a successful learning experience.

Taking out the trash (compactor)

A funny thing happened at 78th & Dodge.

When we opened our most recent retail store last November, the space we moved into wasn’t large enough to accommodate a trash compactor — a fixture in the back room at all of our retail stores. The plan was to have a truck come by several times a day to pick up the store’s trash and take it down to the Retail Operations Center, where it could be compacted and sent away.

But that didn’t end up happening. The 78th & Dodge retail team were so cautious about what they discarded — while being more mindful of what could be recycled — that those multiple daily trash pickups turned into just single pickups — less than half of what was expected. And once they set that example, our retail operations department asked itself, “Can we replicate this success elsewhere?”

So far, the answer has been such a resounding “Yes” that this week our Benson Park Plaza store’s compactor was removed completely! Goodwill employees have been so effective at ensuring the efficient sorting of all of our donations — whether those donations are going to the sales floor, to the WearHouse, to GoodBytes or separated for recycling — that our trash compactors are seeing only a fraction of the use that they once were. Last year, the Benson Park Plaza store was averaging two trash pickups per month. But in 2012, Store Manager Laura Duhigg and her staff have done such a great job monitoring their trash that they’ve had only five pickups all year.

The hole in the floor that once held the trash compactor at Goodwill's Benson Park Plaza store.

And while that’s a sad story for our lonely compactors, it’s great news for everyone else. It helps Goodwill’s bottom line by eliminating waste and maximizing the use of our donations, which in turn helps free more money for our mission. It’s great for the environment, as we send less and less to landfills even as our operations continue to grow. And it’s great for our donors, who can be assured that their donations are being put to their best use.

It helps that 78th & Dodge and Benson Park Plaza are on the low end of donation volume for the agency, but our retail staff hopes to be able to replicate this success in our higher-volume stores in the future. Thanks to all of our locations, including our non-retail offices, our recycling numbers across the agency continue to climb. In the first half of 2012, we recycled more than 2.7 million pounds of clothing, more than 200,000 pounds of shoes, more than 559,000 pounds of computers and computer components, more than 131,000 pounds of cardboard, more than 14,000 pounds of paper and more than 7,700 pounds of plastic.

Get your free Cox Classic tickets at Goodwill!

Between now and August 5, stop by any Goodwill location to get your tickets to the 2012 Cox Classic at Champions Run Country Club!

Here’s how it works: when you bring a donation to any of Goodwill’s donation centers, you will receive a voucher good for two free tickets. Just take your voucher to the Cox Classic will-call, where you can redeem it for your two entry passes.

The vouchers are available now, and only while supplies last, so be sure to bring your donations to Goodwill to secure your free tickets! For more information on the 2012 Cox Classic, visit coxclassic.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/coxclassic.

Thrifter Spotlight: It All Began In A Garden

A few weeks ago while on my regular trip to the Omaha Farmers Market, I noticed quite the crowd around one particular booth. She wasn’t selling produce or homemade salsa, she was selling plates. For your yard. These clever creations are the work of Omahan Janice Black. Janice mixes and matches ceramic plates to make unique flowers to accent your garden. My ears perked up when I heard her tell a customer that she finds some of her plates at Goodwill, and I asked her if I could feature her work on our blog.

Janice started shopping at thrift stores with her mother when she was a little girl. It was one of their favorite things to do together, even through adulthood. Two years ago, Janice and a friend were shopping in Walnut, IA when they found similar garden art at a consignment shop. The owner of the shop told the ladies that her husband had made them, so Janice and her friend decided to give it a shot. What started out as a plan to make a few for themselves and as gifts has now turned into weekends of craft fairs and 30 boxes of plates in Janice’s basement. Continue reading

Goodwill Leader Graduates Leadership Omaha

The 34th Leadership Omaha class graduated last month, and Goodwill is proud to have had one of our own in the group. Director of Federal Contracts Tobi Mathouser was one of forty-seven leaders selected for program. Over a 10-month period, Leadership Omaha participants attended seminars to build leadership and community awareness skills that will make our great city even better. Small groups allowed the class to further discuss issues that affect our community.

Tobi Mathouser and her small group work together on a problem solving activity.

Congratulations to Tobi and all of the Leadership Omaha graduates!

Big ideas can fit in tiny boxes

The YouthBuild Omaha model home

When the participants of YouthBuild Omaha were invited to participate in the ServeNebraska Symposium “Celebration of Service” last month, they immediately began work on a project that represents their contributions to the community — a scaled down modeled home.

Before you picture a doll-house, this home was very unique! The purpose of this project was to display the knowledge they’ve gained while in the program.
For example, every afternoon for the past 10 months has been spent working on renovation projects. They have assisted Abide Network with homes on 25th & Fowler and have built classrooms and renovated apartments for a church on 25th & Grant. They wanted to capture their experience and educate the audience simultaneously.

With the end in mind, they set about the “project.” The home would be two feet by two feet. The Symposium was held in Seward, Nebraska, so anything larger would have posed transportation concerns. In order to get a clear view of their work, people would need to be able to see through the house. For this reason it was given only half a roof.

Each side of the house demonstrated different stages of the building process:

Robert Flakes (left) and Dareius Brown work on the construction of the model home.

• Framed Wall With Framing Components
• Frame Door Entry With A Header

Left Side:
• Wall Frame With Window Frame
• Insulation

• Wall Frame With Insulation

Right Side:
• Wall Frame With Window
• Insulation

Sob Board
• Vinly Siding

• Roof Frame
• Sob Board
• Shingles

• Carpeted

Eight students worked on the house for more than 14 hours under the supervision of YouthBuild Construction Trainer Norman Barnes, who restricted his involvement to consultation only. The group took great pride in the fact that 95% of the house was constructed using only hand tools! The house was a big hit at the Symposium, where the students took turns educating onlookers of the project and the work they do.

The overall success can best be expressed in the words of one of the students, who reflected on the project and said “We did good.”

AbilityOne: Tenants Talk Back!

The AbilityOne staff has been extremely busy these past few months and it hasn’t gone unnoticed!

Lincoln day custodians at the Robert Denney Federal Building all had perfect scores on recent Customer Surveys. This staff has been described as consistently cheerful, warm and friendly, and they take pride in their work.

Carie Ideen, Myles Greefe, and Steven Hennessey are super reflections of our AbilityOne achievers and we are very proud of these employees’ accomplishments!