Goodwill expands Career Connections Center

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Thanks to an expansion completed last month, the Goodwill Career Connections Center is now able to help more people find work and will soon offer more classes.
The center, located at 1923 South Main St. in Salisbury, will have an open house with refreshments from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday to show the community how it has changed.
Nancy Rominger, Career Connections coordinator for Goodwill, said the expansion will help the center serve more people with the free job searching tools it offers.
These include computers with Internet access, a telephone, a fax machine, a copy machine, job listings and informational pamphlets. Job seekers also can get free one-on-one help with resume writing, interviewing and computer skills.
“A lot of the people we see — especially people coming off manufacturing jobs — don’t have to use computers a lot,” Rominger said. “They need help with typing, how to handle online applications and how to actually prepare a resume. Some of the people coming in have worked at the same job for 20 or 30 years, and they haven’t had to do a resumé before.”
At the open house Thursday, representatives from Aerotek Staffing Agency and StaffMasters will be available to talk to people about finding jobs through a placement company.
The center itself does not place people in positions, Rominger said. Instead, it helps them develop the skills they need to find employment and communicate those skills to hiring businesses. More training opportunities also will be available soon.
The Goodwill center, which is funded by local Goodwill stores, had been limited to one classroom with computers and a lobby area with job search resources. The expansion adds two more classrooms, including one with computers and an interactive white board.
The center now can offer more classes in partnership with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC). The college now offers an employability lab from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, extending to 4 p.m. starting in June.
In this lab — also available on the college’s two campuses — job seekers learn how to write an effective resumé, practice interviewing skills, search for jobs online and fill out electronic applications.
The college also sponsors a career readiness certificate program and is expected to bring more classes to the center in the fall.
Carol Allen, director of career readiness certification at RCCC, said the there wasn’t enough space when the college previously tried to hold classes at the Career Connections Center.
“We’re glad to be back,” Allen said. “It’s really convenient for individuals who go to the JobLink Career Center across the street.”
Allen said instructors can use the new interactive white board to easily highlight different parts of a resume, for example, or show a whole classroom at once how to navigate a job search website.
Rominger said records show about 400 people who came to the center last year found jobs, but it’s been hard to keep track.
“Since I’ve got more people now, we’re going to start contacting people and see… if they’ve actually found work and how they’re doing,” she said. “If they haven’t, we’ll see if there’s something we can do to help.”
James Martin, of Kannapolis, said he has learned from the Career Connections Center how to put his resume online and widen his job search. He said it’s been a while since he had to look for employment.
“It helps me a lot,” Martin said. “It gives me a better opportunity to get where I want to go.”
Salisbury resident Melanie Tysinger, who is currently seeking a job in medical administration, said the center is “just absolutely great.”
“I’m coming out of almost 14 years of employment with a single employer,” she said. “I’ve never worked anywhere else… They’ve helped me with narrowing down my job search and finding what areas are a best fit for me.”
Tysinger said the people at the center helped her not only to put together a resume but also to define herself again.
“After 14 years, you lose who you are, and you kind of become your job,” she said. “They helped me find again what I’m capable of doing.”
For more information, contact the Goodwill Career Connections Center at 704-638-6434.