Goodwill Can Help You Jumpstart Your Career

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Most people know Goodwill as the community place to bring used clothing and wares to be sold in stores and online. What you may not know is that Goodwill can also help boost your career.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that unemployment is the lowest since March 1973, but many are still looking for work or interested in upping their career game to avoid being underemployed.

Elise Gould, an economist for the Economic Policy Institute -- a think tank affiliated with the labor movement -- noted that, "Despite companies adding jobs, in the United States, there are still 14 job seekers for every 10 openings."

In every career field, competitive job candidates need skills and competencies that will empower them to land an opportunity and thrive in a new role. Closing the skills gap requires a commitment to retraining and educating the workforce on a multi-generational scope -- from students to Baby Boomers and beyond. Goodwill is a resource for credentialing and training in the community and has helped connect people to jobs since 1902.

As North America's leading nonprofit provider of job training, employment placement services and other community-based programs, Goodwill is helping people overcome challenges that prevent them from finding and keeping good jobs. As part of this ongoing effort, 164 Goodwill organizations around the United States and Canada will celebrate Goodwill Industries® Week May 1 - 7 with career fairs and employment placement services.

"Goodwill has been assisting people to obtain and maintain work opportunities for 114 years," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "The sale of donated items from Goodwill stores helps fund job placement, skills training, and community strengthening services in communities across North America."

Today, many are balancing the demands of raising families, while finding a job or trying to upgrade their career situations. Designed to complement the Goodwill in-person career services to give individuals a competitive edge, the career navigation website, GoodProspects®, helps individuals search for jobs, connect with mentors, and earn micro-credentials to become career ready.

GoodProspects' members can also communicate with each other through the site's industry-focused message boards where users can share career resources, and ask and answer questions. The website profiles 11 high-growth career industries to maximize success in a supply-and-demand-driven job market. Job seekers get information about careers that are paying well and have high job growth potential.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Beth Perell, vice president of communications and information management at Goodwill Industries International, on my podcast, Your Working Life. She shared great insight about the resources provided by Goodwill. Check out that podcast here.

Last year, Goodwill placed 312,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 35 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills.

To learn more, visit goodwill.org.

Spread the word about the amazing resources provided by Goodwill and celebrate Goodwill Industries Week May 1-7. The sale of donated goods in stores and online helps to fund job placement and training services in your community. You can make a difference by donating, buying, or spreading the word about the extraordinary work of Goodwill to those who could benefit from a career jumpstart.

Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book, "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" now in the second edition, and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Executive Director of Career & Professional Development at the Indiana University Alumni Association and contributes to Ellevate Network, CNN Money, and the British online magazine - The Rouse. She hosts the online series,Thrive! about career & life empowerment for women and hosts the international podcast series Your Working Life- check it out on iTunes. Follow her on Facebook,LinkedIn, and Twitter.