Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina was thrilled to welcome the public to celebrate the renovation of its Iredell County Workforce Development Center at a ribbon-cutting held Wednesday, July 29. The open house, attended by about 150 business and community leaders, showcased the new facility, including:
• Larger classroom space and curriculum in partnership with Mitchell Community College
• The Whitaker Room, state-of-art meeting space available to nonprofits and partner agencies
• E-Commerce operations, which help fund Goodwill’s mission
In his welcome, President and CEO Art Gibel noted that the center will house the Crosby Scholars program, a college access program expanding into Iredell County for the first time. Crosby Scholars partners with Goodwill in Forsyth County to prepare thousands of students in grades six to 12, and their families, for college. The program will begin recruiting in Statesville and Mooresville public schools this fall.
“Our mission is to enhance the current and future employability of the people in our territory,” Gibel said. “And we know that lack of access to education is one of the biggest barriers to employment. With the classes provided by Mitchell Community College instructors and the Crosby Scholars addressing the future ability of young people to find jobs, Goodwill and its partners will continue to prepare our area’s workforce to be employed.”
Guests and visitors also praised the willingness of Iredell County institutions to partner with one another to make a greater impact. Dr. James T. “Tim” Brewer, president of Mitchell Community College, said “Partnerships are key to serving our community, and we are very proud of this partnership.” He noted that the CNA classes offered at Goodwill are critical since the healthcare industry is growing in Iredell County.
Visitors learned about Goodwill’s many workforce development services and programs, available to anyone in the Iredell area seeking to be retrained, hone their skills or receive help in changing careers. In addition to Crosby Scholars, those programs include Project Re-entry, which provides transition services for ex-offenders; Operation: GoodJobs, which offers employment services and resources for veterans and their families; and Career Connections, which helps people find meaningful employment and offers resources for employers.
City of Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh thanked Goodwill for “your willingness to partner with others in this community.” Mayor Miles Atkins of the Town of Mooresville recognized Goodwill Employment Specialist Kaye Webster for her work on the Operation: GoodJobs program. “Kaye worked so hard to pull all of the veterans services providers in the area together to make an impact on our veterans and their spouses, and that’s why Mooresville is committed to partnering with Goodwill to expand that impact,” he said. Marvin Norman, vice chair of the Iredell County Board of Commissioners, encouraged the crowd to support Goodwill’s mission by shopping in our stores. His wife, Juanita Norman, is the center’s Career Connections coordinator.
The presidents of the county’s two Chambers of Commerce both thanked Goodwill for being part of the area. David Bradley, of the Greater Statesville Chamber, called the renovated building a “showcase,” and was pleased that Crosby Scholars was expanding. “We realize that this is a necessary tool for the kids in our community and we pledge our firm commitment so that it can continue for years to come.” Kirk Ballard, president of the Mooresville Chamber, said that “Goodwill has an intangible benefit to the business community. What you do for this community is remarkable. I’m glad I am here to celebrate this facility and say thank you for helping people fill the jobs we want to bring to this community.”
Goodwill’s Iredell Workforce Development program is funded through the sale of items in our stores that have been donated by the local community. Vice President of Workforce Development Services Sherry Carpenter thanked the employees in Goodwill’s retail operations and facilities divisions for their dedication to efficiency and a high level of customer service, all of which encourage donors and shoppers to support Goodwill.