Goodwill Career Solutions, of Spring Hill, will hold a multi-employer job fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday Aug. 28 in its office at 1008 Nasdaq Street.
Goodwill Career Solutions of Spring Hill plans to hold a multi-employer job fair Aug. 28 in the hopes of helping residents find work and employers find the help they need.
Bev Kassis, a career counselor with Goodwill, said her office has already helped 68 job seekers find employment in the last month.
“We’ve had a very busy month so far,” Kassis said. “That’s an unusually high number and will go even higher after next week’s job fair.”
Kassis has been with Goodwill for six years, spending the last four as a counselor at the Spring Hill office. She said helping others to find jobs is rewarding work.
“The overall mission of every local Goodwill is the same, though specific projects may vary,” Kassis said. “Through the sale of donated items, and our career solutions program, we are dedicated to eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”
The sale of donated items in Goodwill’s nonprofit storefronts allows the Career Solutions side of the organization to offer its services free of charge to both employers and job seekers.
“We want to have a reputation as the place that both prospective employers and employees come to find each other,” Kassis said. “Our goal is to prepare people to find jobs.”
The staff at Career Solutions finds out about area job openings through its own networking as well as through voluntary contact from employers.
“We love hearing from new businesses in Spring Hill, who are often hiring but perhaps are not yet set up to conduct interviews at their own offices,” Kassis said. “We welcome both new businesses and ones that have been here forever to come use our facility as a place to meet with and hire new employees.”
The Spring Hill office offers a wide variety of programs for those looking for work, and with the exception of a few, all of the services are free. Some of the most successful and popular training programs available through Career Solutions include forklift certification, call center training, retail and customer service training and digital literacy workshops.
Contrary to popular belief, the job-seeker services offered at Goodwill are by no means limited to those with disabilities.
“When I first came to Goodwill seeking a job,” Kassis said, “I walked in saying, ‘What do you guys do?’ I was a client myself, but I was unsure if the jobs on offer were only tailored for individuals with disabilities. And the fact is that we aim to help all job seekers to get employment.”
Although some services are devoted to helping individuals with documented physical, mental, or emotional disability, many are open to all. The Transitional Employment Services are overseen by a dedicated caseworker whose expertise lies in assessing the skills and needs of disabled applicants and ensuring that any assigned employment does not interfere with disability benefits.
There are several basic requirements in place for anyone looking for a job through Goodwill’s Career Solutions services, but those requirements do not apply to the Goodwill job fairs.
“Anyone looking to use our program services must be 18-years-old, not enrolled in high school, and either unemployed or employed at less than 20 hours a week,” Kassis said. “But the job fairs are wide open for all job seekers. Even those who are currently employed but who want to transition into something new are eligible.”
Kassis and her staff have assisted people in many different career situations to find work in Spring Hill.
“We help those with disabilities, obviously,” Kassis said. “But we also meet with people who have, for example, been laid off from the work they’ve been doing for a long time. Or perhaps someone will come to us who has been out of work for a long time and doesn’t know what to do next to find work. All of those are examples of barriers to work that we help people to get over.”
One of the most inspiring instances that Kassis has seen of Goodwill helping a job seeker to find fulfilling work is the case of Jose Ortega of Mount Pleasant, who works at the Career Solutions office as an assistant job counselor. Ortega was paralyzed from the waist down in 2004 when a motorist attempted to rob him as he was walking home, then shot him in the back.
“We met Jose through the transitional program after his injury,” Kassis said. “He did so well assisting our clients with job searches and in creating resumes, I decided to offer him a full-time position.” Ortega has been with the Spring Hill office since 2011.
Employers coming to next week’s fair to meet with job seekers include Lowes, IBEX Global, Staffmark, Ajilon Professional Staffing, Sitters and More, Little Caesars, Global Manufacturing Services, Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins, Williamson County Schools, and the Miller’s Thrillers haunted corn maze event to be held in Neapolis this October. Kassis said she does expect even more employers to participate. Prospective employees should bring a resume, photo ID and Social Security card or birth certificate, and should be prepared to interview.
For more information about Goodwill Career Solutions, visit their website or contact their office at 800-545-9231. The job fair is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday Aug. 28 at 1008 Nasdaq St.
Staff writer Greg Jinkerson covers Spring Hill for BrentWord Communications. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JinkersonGreg.