In this episode, we spoke with Arlene Short, Manager of Outreach and Recruitment for Goodwill of Western New York. Arlene discusses how the Goodwill Goodskills Career Builder program is training and connecting people in our community to meaningful work in the manufacturing and tech industries.
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- Arlene Short is the manager of outreach and recruitment for Goodwill of Western New York. In this role, she goes into the community to educate people about the Goodskills Career Builder initiative and then recruits participants.
- The Goodskills Career Builder primarily serves people who are under or unemployed.
- Arlene recruits participants for the program, which is just over one year old, by word of mouth and through faith-based organizations and other nonprofits. So far, it has been very successful.
- The recruits contact Arlene, who then calls them and asks questions about their life goals, aptitudes, attitudes, whether they are interested in tech or manufacturing, and if they are motivated to improve their lives.
- She seeks to “dig down” to truly understand what fulfills each recruit.
- After that, they schedule an appointment and meet with a career coach to set goals.
- The four-week program includes one week of paperwork and then three weeks of condensed, comprehensive classroom and on-the-job training that allows them to build the skills and confidence they need to start their career.
- Steve said that as an employer, he doesn’t expect these new employees to know everything but that he is happy to have employees from the Goodskills program who are willing to learn and eventually participate in advanced training.
- Arlene asks each recruit to be open during in-depth conversations and encourages them to discuss their dreams and plans.
- Goodskills also seeks to remove any barriers to participation, such as help with bus passes, but ultimately, the participant must be motivated to pursue the career path.
- In addition to providing a living wage to help support themselves and their family, Goodskills helps each participant determine their purpose.
- Pursuing a career that gives them a purpose helps participants grow as individuals, gain confidence, find joy in their jobs, and teach others about this path to happiness.
- Steve mentioned that at Tapecon, the company seeks to educate those who help manufacture the products about their benefits and how they improve the lives of others, so they feel personally invested.
- This encourages the employees to work harder because they understand that the product they manufacture matters. It also increases job satisfaction and retention.
- Arlene encourages all manufacturers to share their products' purpose. When people feel connected to the result, they are more invested and work harder.
- “There is no better thing you can do than to go to work and know that at the end of the day, you’ve helped your fellow man,” she said.