Goodwill of North Georgia opened the doors of its Career Center inside the Dawsonville storefront this week in hopes of assisting job seekers and employers alike.
"Our goal in North Georgia this year is to place 23,000 people into jobs," said Elaine Armstrong, vice president of marketing for Goodwill of North Georgia.
The Goodwill store has been open in Dawsonville for two years and from the beginning the plan was to bring in the Career Center that offers free job hunting and training services to anyone who is interested.
"People looking for work, that's what we are here for," she said. "That's the goal here."
When the original store was built, the extra space was partitioned for the Career Center.
The center officially opened its doors on July 5 and on Tuesday the company hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony.
"The timing was right and we found the funding to do it," Armstrong said.
Visitors gathered inside the store to get a look at the facility that has multiple meeting spaces, interview rooms, classrooms and equipment, such as computers and copy machines.
Glorivee Cruz-Velazquez is the Career Center manager and she spent the morning giving tours of the space.
"The Career Center itself is open to the general public," she said. "People who come here register to have access to computers, check your emails, apply online for jobs."
Cruz-Velazquez explained that classes include training in software like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
The center has already had 98 job seekers register and seven of those have reported finding jobs, according to Cruz-Velazquez.
Beyond the offerings for the general job seeker, the center goes a step further with their workforce development. Through that effort, Goodwill works with their partners like the Georgia Rehabilitation Association.
"If you are looking for opportunities to learn a skill or get more soft skills training, or you are a person with a disability, or a youth who needs to go into a program, or a veteran, we actually have programs that are specifically designed for those groups of people," Armstrong said.
Through workforce development, Goodwill partners with agencies like technical colleges and employers to do onsite training.
"We also have opportunities for them to train within our retail stores," she said.
For local employers who need assistance finding quality employees, the Career Center offers many free services.
"This is available for employers who need to do on-site hiring, screen candidates," Armstrong said. "If they need to do an orientation session, have candidates apply online--people can come in to host a job fair."
To use the services and the facilities, companies only need contact the staff at the Career Center to schedule the space.
The career services are also offered online for people who want to get started from their own computer. The web site provides calendars for connecting, classroom instruction and details for workshops.
Job seekers who would like to check out the web site can go to Careerconnector.org. To get more information about the center, go to goodwillng.org or call (706) 344-3409.