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Retiring Community College Employee’s Gift to Goodwill

Carol Allen, who retires this week from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, had a unique idea for a going-away present. The college typically has a reception for retiring employees and takes up a collection to buy a gift. Instead, Allen asked that the campus make donations to Goodwill.

“They asked what I wanted to do (to celebrate). I said a reception was nice, but I preferred that everyone make a donation to Goodwill instead,” she says. Goodwill currently has a donation truck on the college’s campus where faculty, staff and students can make convenient donations.

Allen is the director of Career Readiness Certification and Workforce Assessments, and she is responsible for managing the programs that work with unemployed and underemployed people. In her 15 years working at RCCC, she has developed a very close relationship with Goodwill’s Career Connections Center in Salisbury. She can remember when RCCC first began partnering with Goodwill, and classes met in a room at Store #17 in Salisbury. She recalls that she would startle every time the donation bell rang – “I’d be up there teaching, and then ‘ding ding’!’” she says.

Even in her last week on the job, Allen could be found at the Goodwill Career Connections Center, which recently expanded its building on Main Street to include additional space for classes, workshops and job fairs. Part of the reason she wanted the college to do a donation drive was to help spread the word about Goodwill’s employment services.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of what happens when you donate to a Goodwill store. So I also wanted to raise awareness that when you donate, this is where your dollars go,” she says.

When asked why she wanted her retirement gift to benefit Goodwill, Allen says, ““Because I see how many people Goodwill assists in getting jobs. This way, what I’ve been doing can continue on even after I’m gone. I won’t be here, but the center will be.”

“I didn’t think of it as a big thing. It’s just where my passion is.”