From recent college graduates, professionals looking for a new career, and even an 83-year old who said it is never too late to find a new job – more than 450 people attended one of the largest job fairs ever hosted at Goodwill’s Community Employment Center in Richmond on Thursday, October 6.
Nearly 100 employers and agencies were hiring for positions in healthcare, customer service and retail, hospitality, labor and warehouse, administrative and law enforcement. Some of the job fair participants included AFLAC, Allianz, Brandermill Woods, Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office, County of Henrico, Delhaize America, HCA ManorCare, The Jefferson Hotel, T-Mobile, Union Bank and Trust, Virginia Commonwealth University, VDOT and Walmart.
“I saw the job fair advertised on the Goodwill marquee on Midlothian Turnpike,” said Marcel Love. He came to change careers from warehouse to administrative while recovering from a number of surgeries. “All the employers were very nice and informative,” he said.
“I came to this event after seeing a video online about how Goodwill helped a woman find a career and provided training services for free,” said Deborah McCray. She wanted to find more stable employment, and met with several caregiving and insurance companies. “We forget Goodwill does more than operate retail stores,” she said.
Goodwill has five community employment centers (CEC) across Central and Coastal Virginia, where job seekers can take advantage of workforce training services and job-readiness programs that include:
- Career planning
- Dressing for success
- Employer events
- Financial education
- Online application assistance
- Re-entry assistance for citizens returning after incarceration
- Resume and interview preparation
“We put a lot of effort into this event to make it worthwhile for our job seekers,” said Shelly Watford, Goodwill’s Richmond CEC manager. “We didn’t just use TV, radio and posters to spread the word. Our employment specialists put their feet to the street, providing outreach services in the community to share information about our services while strengthening existing partnerships with local employers,” Watford said.
“This took a leap of faith for me to attend,” said Almar Lowery, a returning citizen who admitted his criminal background has been an issue with some employers in the past. “My probation officer gave me a flyer, and said Goodwill helps people in similar situations. One of the employers I talked to today said she was very willing to help me, and that gave me motivation to look forward to my future,” he said.
For more information on Goodwill’s services offered at no cost for job seekers and employers, including job fairs, click here.