CONNECTION CENTER: Help For Job Seekers

Posted on: 5:38 pm, March 7, 2013, by

Members of the community cut the ribbon on a new place for Iowans to get help finding a job Thursday morning.

You may think of shopping for gently used clothes and household goods when you hear the name Goodwill. But, the organization’s mission is to support job training. And, now the non-profit has a new place to do that.

It’s a day at the mall for Jasmine Smith and her mom. Jasmine says, “Mother/daughter day.” But, they aren’t looking for clothes. She says, “I’m helping my mom look for a job online.”

Smith says her mom doesn’t know how to use a computer. So, the pair came to the new Goodwill Connection Center inside Southridge Mall. Connection Center Coordinator Larry Schrock says, “It’s a free resource for anyone that’s looking for job assistance or resume building or interview skills training.”

Schrock says a handful of employment specialists are on hand to sit down with job seekers. They work on resumes, look at jobs online, and even use software to test their typing skills. He says, “Whatever they need: help with resume, help with interview. I sat down the other day with a gentleman who just wanted to practice interviewing, so I played the role of employer interviewing and he got a lot of training through that too.”

Schrock says since the center opened a few weeks ago, about 50 people have stopped in for help. He says, “We’ve had a couple individuals we’ve helped through the entire process. The interview was a couple days ago, and they got hired. It’s kind of fun to hear the follow-up and see where they’ve landed.”

Schrock says the location inside Southridge Mall is great because it’s just down the hall from where DMACC will open its new facility later this year.  He says, “Hopefully we’ll be able to partner with them. As people get training from DMACC, they’ll be able to stop over here and help them get connected with jobs and companies after they’ve received training.”

Goodwill leaders say revenue from the metro retail stores made the project possible. It cost about $80,000 dollars to start up the center.

Smith says she’s thankful for the help the center provides because her mom hopes to get hired soon. She says, “As soon as possible, she’s going crazy sitting in the house.”

The Connection Center is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for now. The coordinator says to bring your resume, if you have one.