Goodwill Industries of Arkansas is known for its generous and entrepreneurial business model of reselling donated items to fund their programming needs. However, not everyone knows of the numerous programs available at Goodwill locations across the state.
At the central Arkansas location alone, Goodwill has created over 10 programs to assist Arkansans in need ranging from The Excel Center, the first adult high school in Arkansas, to their Beyond Barriers program which focuses on individuals with disabilities who also have a criminal background.
In addition to these essential programs, Goodwill employs Career Specialists with expertise in career readiness, developing job skills and identifying stable employment opportunities. They have 3 Career Centers throughout the state in the Central, Northeast and Northwest regions. Clients can stop by the central Arkansas Career Center to take advantage of Goodwill’s “internet-ready computers, resume and cover letter writing assistance and career coaching”.
Even with the state unemployment rate at an all-time low – fluctuating between 3.8% and 3.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – there are still people in our communities struggle to find stable, long-term employment. Some of these barriers they face include lack of access to transportation, few jobs skills, or having a criminal background.
Goodwill even offers a 16-week Transitional Employment Opportunity program for people with criminal backgrounds but sometimes the structured requirements of a program don’t fit the needs of every client.
That is exactly where the Goodwill Career Centers, powered by Good Grid, can step in to help.
Good Grid software supports all 3 Career Centers in Arkansas by enabling collaboration between Career Specialists, employers and clients on one system. Career Specialists are trained on the Good Grid system to assess and assist the needs of their clients in a streamlined manner. Through this partnership, clients have access to an intuitive, easy to use resume builder, a user-friendly training module and extensive jobs board that can filter for opportunities available to people with criminal backgrounds.
Mary is released from prison on Saturday.
She has logged in to Good Grid one time before she was released but doesn’t feel comfortable using it on her own. She checks in with her parole officer on Monday and he talks to her about Good Grid. She explains that she wants some help using Good Grid so the parole officer looks up a Good Grid class held at Goodwill the next day.
Mary rides the bus and is dropped off at the Goodwill location for Reentry 101. Matthew, a Career Specialist in Goodwill’s Career Center, talks about Good Grid and explains that he will be in the computer lab after the class ends to help attendees with their resumes.
Mary works with Matthew to log into her Good Grid account and update her resume. She is able to download her resume in a format that Matthew believes will highlight her skills without drawing attention to her gap in employment and apply to 2 jobs that they found on the Good Grid jobs board that are willing to accept applications from someone with a criminal history.
Matthew sets up an appointment with Mary for the following week to check on her progress. At their next appointment, Mary explains that she has an interview scheduled with one of the employers she found on Good Grid.
Now Matthew is able to help address other needs that Mary may have, like classes and clothing to help her prepare for her interview.
Mary, with the help of Matthew as an expert Good Grid user, now has access to Good Grid features, such as:
Over 30 Career Specialists at Goodwill Career Centers across Arkansas have been expertly trained on Good Grid as Community Certified partners. Because of their training, they are equipped to assist any client accessing Good Grid, whether they have a criminal background or not. Their certification included training on MyPortfolio for the resume builder, search directory, jobs board, resource and events page and all of Social Hub for service providers.
Now, Goodwill Career Specialists can identify how many people they assist in completing their resumes by using the Partner Assist feature on Good Grid. They simply show the client how to select “Goodwill Career Center” from the dropdown menu and click “update.” This is just another way for Goodwill to use the Good Grid system to ensure excellent service for their clients.
Good Grid is dedicated to offering these state-of-the-art software features to in-need populations across Arkansas. Thanks to our partnership with Goodwill, anyone wanting to use the Good Grid system can drop by one of these classes during the week to receive assistance.
Both classes are located at the Goodwill main office building at 7400 Scott Hamilton Dr., Little Rock. If you or someone you know is looking for some career guidance, and wants to learn how to connect to other community resources, join Goodwill at their next Good Grid class! The Goodwill 101 class is every Tuesday from 10:00 am -11:00 am and the Reentry 101 class is every Wednesday at the same time. They hope to see you there!