Caldwell County business and elected officials welcomed Goodwill’s newest Career Connections Center in Lenoir at an open house this week. The center, located at 960 Blowing Rock Blvd., began operating last summer, partnering with other community and educational agencies to provide job services.
Invited guests included Lenoir Mayor Joseph L. Gibbons, who thanked Goodwill for expanding its presence in Caldwell County and for partnering with existing educational and non-profit agencies to better serve the community. “Thank you for what you do for our city and our county,” the mayor said. “We’re honored that you’re here.”
The new center offers career services to job-seekers, most of which are free. A computer lab is open Monday-Thursday afternoons at no cost to job seekers, and computer classes are offered twice a week in partnership with Caldwell Community College. The center also serves veterans through the Operation: GoodJobs initiative, a national partnership between Goodwill and the Walmart Foundation that connects veterans and their families with the resources they need to obtain meaningful employment and financial stability.
Sharon Poarch, executive director of Shelter Home of Caldwell County, shared how Goodwill has partnered with the shelter to help its residents prepare for employment. “Goodwill helps our clients wade through the barriers they have to becoming employed,” she said. “Remember your first job and how it made you feel? For people who are rounding the corner from a bad situation, being able to get a job is life-changing – so thank you.”
Chamber of Commerce President Deborah Ashley Smith also thanked Goodwill for its job preparation efforts. “Many don’t know that the Chamber has a strong emphasis on workforce readiness,” Smith said. “Facilities like this make it possible for people to b ready to work. Our future depends on residents being ready to be employed, so thank you for being here.”
Goodwill opened the center last summer at the rear of its existing Lenoir retail store in response to feedback from the community about the services that were needed in the area. “Donations and people shopping in our stores directly support programs like this so that anyone in the community who needs it can receive these services free of charge,” said Malla Vue, Goodwill director of workforce development.
To meet with an employment specialist, visit the center Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or call 828-758-8642.
In addition to the Lenoir site, Goodwill operates Career Connections Centers in Buncombe, Davidson, Forsyth, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Rowan, Stokes, Surry and Wilkes Counties.