Goodwill’s newest Career Connections Center officially opened on Thursday, Jan. 15 at 719 West Center Street in Lexington. The new facility is 50 percent larger than Goodwill’s previous center in Lexington and allows for the addition of a youth program, additional skills training classes and job fairs for local employers.
Dozens of community members attended the opening, including Mayor Pro Tem L. Wayne Alley, County Commissioner Steve Shell, Police Chief Tad Kepley, Davidson Community College President Dr. Mary Rittling and Lexington Chamber President Burr Sullivan.
Sullivan noted Goodwill’s Business Advisory Council, which connects business owners with Goodwill in order to meet the needs of employers. “Davidson County’s unemployment rate has dropped from 13 percent to six percent, I believe that the work that Goodwill and the community college are doing has contributed to that,” Sullivan said.
The center is in a building that for years had been offices for G.W. Lumber Company. Goodwill President and CEO Art Gibel said that Goodwill was pleased to be able to expand, and also to re-occupy and improve an unused property.
“This is very different from our old center,” Gibel said at the ribbon-cutting, noting the increased space for skills training classes and offices for Goodwill’s partners. “We thank the community for being such wonderful supporters of Goodwill – because of that support, we are now able to expand our services in this area.”
The expanded center will allow Goodwill to host job fairs for area employers, and offer more classes in partnership with Davidson County Community College. Plans are also underway to expand the “Getting Ahead in a Getting By World” workshop, that Goodwill launched last Spring to help adults develop the life skills needed to pull themselves out of chronic poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
Goodwill will also be able to offer new Lexington-based youth programs for teens, similar to those in Forsyth, Stokes, and Buncombe counties which assist thousands of at-risk youth each year with career preparation, internships and skills development.