Trading Bargains for Jobs

Goodwill uses donations to train future workers

By Consumer Bob
|  Tuesday, Jun 8, 2010  |  Updated 8:50 PM PDT
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New Thrift Store Job Center

Bob Hansen

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Trading Bargains for Jobs

Goodwill uses donations to train future workers.
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Goodwill is turning your old jeans into jobs.

The popular thrift store is finding more people coming through the door to not only look for bargain clothes but also for job training.

"I looked everywhere for a job and couldn't find a job," Izia Wimbish said. 

Goodwill is now operating an employment center alongside its discount clothing and kitchenware, and Wimbish is now working at a new Goodwill store in Santee near San Diego.

Debbie Gertonson hadn't worked in nearly two years when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. 

"I have pages of applications that I filled out, and most of the time I never even heard back," said Gertonson, who turned to the Goodwill Employment Center to find a job and now works for the thrift store.

The Goodwill centers help the unemployed write resumes, practice job interviews and contact possible employers. In the past, people using the Goodwill services often had issues that made them hard to employ. Now Goodwill is finding all walks of life using their facilities for the job hunt.

"I didn't know it was a thrift store until I started working for them," said Froyland Mendez, who was trained for five months before landing a permanent position at the Santee store. 

Mendez said he can't believe what people donate. He said some of it is junk and some are family heirlooms; either way, those donations helped him train and find a job.

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