Customer Service Career Fair today at Goodwill!

Top Omaha-area companies will be at Goodwill’s 72nd & Ames Headquarters on Wednesday, February 27 to share information on open positions in the customer service field. Stop by 4805 N 72nd St. from 11am to 4pm to meet with representatives from these companies. Be prepared for potential on-the-spot interviews — bring your resume and dress professionally!

Manpower, Mutual of Omaha, Hayneedle, General Services Bureau, Marriott, Oriental Trading, Cox Communications, First Data, and McCarthy Heating & Cooling are among the companies who will be in attendance.

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 Intake Coordinator Heather Carrico at 402.231.1903 or [email protected].

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Goodwill’s safety program turns 1

It was roughly a year ago that Goodwill Omaha’s heightened safety push began, after an employee at one of the retail stores suffered an injury that opened everyone’s eyes.

“When a long-time valued employee falls off a ladder, it’s a huge wakeup call,” said Chief Operating Officer Randy Parks.

Parks compiled a collection of then-recent safety concerns and brought them to Executive Staff to make the case for a more proactive approach toward safety, which led to the creation of a Goodwill Safety Program. Now roughly a year in, the program has resulted in a number of noticeable changes — and results.

“It’s working its way through everything we do,” Parks said.

The Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) team was created to observe the operations throughout the agency in an effort to identify possible safety improvements. Human Resources Vice President Dave Pfeffer said the JHA team has reviewed every retail store and the grounds operations, making a number of implemented recommendations.

For example, at the Madison store, the group identified an area where the floor was uneven. Some carts had large wheels that could pass right over, but some had small wheels that would get stuck. The group recommended all carts have the larger wheels, and the retail department made the change.

At the VA Hospital, Loss Prevention Director Kent Canigila said the group observed the grounds crew and noticed the flap over the lawnmower blade was disconnected and in an upright position, which could cause projectiles to shoot out during mowing.

“Overall, I would like to think that because of those interventions, Goodwill is a safer place,” Pfeffer said. “But there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Within the next month, the JHA team will begin reviewing both the Retail Operations Center (ROC) and the YouthBuild program.

Parks said that at the store level, everyone is much more aware of the dangers of compactors, so employees wear protective eyewear there. Ladders are also now secured, and employees must receive training before using them.

At the ROC, employees in the warehouse wear bright orange or yellow shirts to increase visibility. In the shelving area, employees wear hard hats.

Caniglia said there has been a heightened focus on reviewing preventive safety information. Each store has a set of safety posters, which a store manager explains to the staff in a monthly safety meeting. Caniglia will monitor incident trends and choose each month’s poster accordingly.

“If we’re having issues in one area, like slips and falls, we might focus on that,” he said.

Another safety initiative that has experienced heightened interest is the safety committee. Caniglia said that employee interest in the safety committee meetings has grown so much that the meetings may need to move from the board room to the Durham room because they’re getting too crowded.

“Employee perception of safety has changed, in that it’s become much more important,” he said.

In each meeting, Caniglia said that Pfeffer presents all recent safety incidents, and the committee reviews them. He said the group is primarily store managers and department heads, but anyone is welcome.

Parks said when it comes to incident numbers, the total over the past year isn’t down as much as he’d like to see, “…but the severity is,” he said.

“Most of what we get now is like scratches and Band-Aid stuff.”

Even so, Goodwill was able to exceed its safety goals in 2012. Pfeffer said last year was the first time the safety rate was included on the agency’s balanced scorecard. Historically, he said, the safety rate (calculated as the number of total OSHA recordable cases per 200,000 employee hours worked) has been between 2.0 and 3.0, so the goal for 2012 was set at less than 2.0.

“We felt that was a pretty aggressive goal,” he said. And at the end of 2012, the rate was 1.46.

Even with those changes in place and successes to validate them, there is still work to be done.

“The issue of safety is never going to go away,” Caniglia said. “But we did such a good job last year, that now the focus is going to be to maintain it.”

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The Goodwill Coffee House is now open!

On Sunday, February 24th, Goodwill Omaha opened its new coffee shop!

The Goodwill Coffee House is located at Benson Park Plaza (72nd & Ames) and is accessible from the Goodwill retail store (Monday – Sunday) or from the administrative offices (Monday – Friday). Hours are Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Coffee House will serve brewed coffee, espresso drinks, smoothies and iced and blended coffees starting at $1.29. In addition, made-to-order breakfast and lunch fare are also available.

Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Menu items start at $2.99 and include: breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese and meat; bagels with cream cheese; pastries; fruit; orange juice and milk.

Lunch service begins at 10:30 a.m. Menu items start at $3.49 and include: ham, turkey, roast beef and club sandwiches (served on a variety of breads) and hot dogs. For an additional $1.95, customers can make a “Combo Meal” which includes a 24 oz. soda, and chips, pasta salad or apple.

Fountain soft drinks, featuring Coke products, are available for $0.99 for a 24 oz. serving.

Specials, soups and different sandwiches will be introduced in the future.

“We are excited to bring The Goodwill Coffee House to the North Omaha community,” Retail Sales Director Shannon McGree said.

“Not only will we provide quality products to our customers, The Coffee House will also serve as a training ground, providing customer service and food service training opportunities for our program participants.”

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Snowball fight at Benson Park Plaza

Human Resources Manager Julie Cernin takes aim at Organizational Development Manager Angie Montgomery at the Great Snowball Fight of Friday Morning.

It was “on” at Goodwill’s Benson Park Plaza administrative offices today as Mother Nature provided ample amounts of snow for an old-fashioned snowball fight on the hill outside of the building. A dozen employees gathered to fight as many others chose to observe the fun.

Employees threw loosely-packed snowballs back and forth. Some ganged up on Loss Prevention Manager Kent Caniglia.

“They wailed on him real bad,” reported Gale Husk. Continue reading

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AbilityOne February Roundup!

The Lincoln crew points to their goal board, signifying a perfect year of safety.

LINCOLN Update: At the close of February we will celebrate a perfect year of safety. No lost time accidents. Monthly treats have been provided to keep staff motivated. A goal board is located in the break area that has monitored our monthly progress. Everyone is anticipating the big reward….Pizza! We can contribute our success to leadership providing daily inspirational and sometimes funny safety reminders. Kudos to our staff for scoring many sources to find just the right ones. Congratulations Lincoln!

Check out some of our safety quotes!
• A slip and fall on the ice would not make the trip to the hospital feel very nice.
• A slip and fall can mean a 911 call.
• Get in the high-speed pursuit of safety.
• If you don’t think it can happen to you…listen to person that had it happen to them.
• Anger is one letter away from Danger
• Safety Never Hurts

Eric Rentschler

OFFUTT Update: Everything seems to be finally settling down after a big uproar with schedule changes. We are now heading into 5-day schedules which we hope will provide stability and consistency to our staff and tenants. All of our custodial staff has been extremely busy keeping Offutt clean and presentable. We would like to recognize one employee for his outstanding efforts: Eric Rentschler.

Eric is best known for his positive attitude and personable demeanor. One of Eric’s favorite phrases each work day is, “It’s gonna be a good day today, I can feel it!” Due to the needs of the contract, Eric’s hours have been increased along with his workload. But that didn’t discourage him. He gladly accepted the added responsibility and asks what else needed to be done. He assists his coworkers whenever needed and always has a smile on his face.

Eric stated that he likes the feeling of getting paid and being able to get out of the house and feel productive. When Eric is not at work, he likes to relax by reading books on Kindle, play video games, and collect odds and ends like trading cards. Offutt is very lucky to have such a dedicated member to their team!

ZORINSKY Update: The work never ends at the Federal Building. Zorinsky employees are busy keeping their tenants satisfied and happy, even if that means shoveling snow at 5am! Diane Cich, Project Manager took home the Manager of the Year award at this year’s Annual Dinner. She attributes her success to her hardworking crew stating, “I couldn’t have done it without them!” With Manager of the Year and such a committed crew, it’s easy to see why Zorinsky is thriving!

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The first READY Computer Certificate has been awarded!


Mary Ellen Meloy was the first participant to earn a READY Computer Certificate as part of the program’s new computer classes. The trainings — which are offered in partnership with GCFLearnFree.org, teach participants how to use the most common features in Word, Excel and PowerPoint from the Microsoft Office software suite.

Mary Ellen received her Certificate of Completion after finishing the Word training, in which students learn how to create professional-looking word processing documents and become proficient in features like Mail Merge. To find out more about the READY Computer Classes, and to sign up, visit our READY page.

Congratulations, Mary Ellen!

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Goodwill Omaha 2012 Employee of the Year Nominee: Glicel Vidales-Soto

Glicel Vidales-Soto was awarded the Employee of the Month honor in December, and she is our final nominee for 2012 Employee of the Year.

Glicel works at Offutt Air Force Base on one of Goodwill’s postal contracts. She is often called upon to run to many different locations on base to clean a floor, scrub toilets, wash down walls and clean water fountains.

She always manages to complete her own duties, and she even lends a hand to others wherever and whenever called upon.

Glicel is the type of employee who will come to work early, stay late, or work other odd hours to help a coworker. She is depended on to troubleshoot and help to fix any issues that arise at Offutt.

Government contracts can be tricky, but Glicel has a strong understanding of what needs to be done and how. This helps the contract run smoothly and efficiently.

Phil Johnson, Glicel’s supervisor, says that she is a great asset to Goodwill. Phil is fairly new to his position at Offutt, and he has come to rely on her knowledge of the agency for any questions that may arise, including training participants and responding to the needs of the customer.

Glicel clearly demonstrates many of Goodwill’s core values, including Learning and Customer-Driven. Phil can count on Glicel, and so can Goodwill.

Congrats Glicel!

The Goodwill Employee of the Year is selected by a vote of Goodwill employees and will be announced at the 2012 Goodwill Annual Awards Dinner on February 9.

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Goodwill Omaha 2012 Employee of the Year Nominee: Michael Howard

The excellence shown by Michael Howard, our November 2012 Employee of the Month and 2012 Employee of the Year nominee, came to light in an atypical — but welcome — fashion.

A Metro bus mechanic emailed Michael’s supervisor to praise Michael for returning some very expensive tools that were accidently left on a bus overnight. The relieved mechanic was extremely thankful for Michael’s honesty and integrity (the mechanic used Goodwill’s values to describe Michael!).

Ginny Powell, Michael’s supervisor, was not surprised to receive this email. She has witnessed Michael’s customer-driven work ethic for years.

Ginny says, “I believe that the proof is in the perception. When a person outside of the organization can name one of our values based on what they see of our employees, it proves those Goodwill values are ingrained in what the employee does every day.”

Michael works on the CSD-Metro Bus contract overnight shift. He often works alone, meaning that he often needs to single-handedly solve problems.
Michael works two jobs and gets through the day on very little sleep, but you wouldn’t know that from the quality of his work.

The recognition of Employee of the Month means a lot to him, as he doesn’t always get the day-to-day feedback that those of us who work next to our supervisors do.

Congratulations, Michael!

The Goodwill Employee of the Year is selected by a vote of Goodwill employees and will be announced at the 2012 Goodwill Annual Awards Dinner on February 9.

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Goodwill Omaha 2012 Employee of the Year Nominee: Sarah Urick

Sarah Urick is Goodwill’s resident e-Tapestry master. E-Tapestry is Goodwill’s donor and accounting gift management database. Without Sarah’s assistance, the Development Department would have been forced to start from ground zero in revamping the database. This is part of why Sarah was Goodwill Omaha’s October 2012 Employee of the Month and why she is one of our nominees for 2012 Employee of the Year.

Sarah’s thorough approach to all accounting functions helps Goodwill maintain accurate, clear, and succinct records. This clearly demonstrates Goodwill’s values of integrity and accountability. The Development Department applauds Sarah for helping to get through a learning curve, with two new people who relied on her assistance for various accounting questions. In this sense, Sarah embodies our customer-driven value. She understands that each minute given to help a fellow employee means better service will be given to customers, donors, and the community.

Sarah was truly shocked to be named Employee of the Month. She was told that she and colleague Jeff Bloes would be presenting on a recent conference to the Town Hall crowd. Sarah tried for two days to get out of this public speaking opportunity. She failed, however, and instead was presented with her award.

When asked what she enjoys most about her job, Sarah reflected upon the wonderful people that she gets to work with each day.

Two-time winner Urick doesn’t spend every waking moment at Goodwill. She enjoys time at home with her husband and their three boys. Their “favorite” family activity is studying! Sarah is working towards her associate’s degree in accounting from Metro. She is excited to complete the degree and learn more about the exciting world of accounting, all while helping Goodwill advance our mission.

The Goodwill Employee of the Year is selected by a vote of Goodwill employees and will be announced at the 2012 Goodwill Annual Awards Dinner on February 9.

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Goodwill Omaha 2012 Employee of the Year Nominee: Nate Andrews

If you ask his colleagues, Nate Andrews’ work ethic is what makes him stand out. He is responsible for ensuring that tens of thousands of new goods items make it safely to store shelves. He does this while managing 1,400 items in the CounterPoint tracking system, ensuring that all information is kept up-to-date.

“Nate doesn’t just go above and beyond once in a while, he is doing it each and every day,” lauded Database Manager Jeffrey Bloes, Nate’s supervisor.

This is just one of the reasons that Goodwill honored Nate with the Employee of the Month award for September and why he’s now one of the nominees for 2012 Employee of the Year.

Nate is described as an awesome co-worker. Although he works in the IT Department, Nate makes life for our Accounting Department members much easier with his attention to detail and quick response time.

Accounts Payable Specialist Sarah Urick praised him, saying, “Nate has really gone out of his way to make sure Accounting has accurate information and will research to find an answer to any problem.”

At Goodwill, Nate gets to work with a myriad of different people. “I get to work with at least one person at every store — managers and assistant managers,” he said. This type of varying work is what makes Nate excited about his job.

Nate embodies all of Goodwill’s core values. He always makes sure that customer purchases go smoothly and are 100% accurate, making him customer-driven.
Nate is accountable, as he takes full responsibility for the entire new goods inventory. He embodies the value of learning by taking it upon himself to make sure he knows all there is to know about CounterPoint processes.

“He cares for Goodwill, he cares for the people he works with, and he cares for his inventory,” reiterated Bloes.

When Nate isn’t making Goodwill a better place, he enjoys spending time with his three dogs, Fendy, Bailey, and Jambi.

Congratulations to Nate for his hard work and dedication to Goodwill’s mission, vision, and values! Keep striving for excellence!

The Goodwill Employee of the Year is selected by a vote of Goodwill employees and will be announced at the 2012 Goodwill Annual Awards Dinner on February 9.

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