St. Francis home

Goodwill Eases Staffing Burden for Local Nonprofit

It takes a great deal of preparation to feed 120 people three times a day, but Edna Harris says this major undertaking is much easier these days, thanks to her partnership with Goodwill.

“Goodwill is the best thing that has ever happened to us,” said Harris. As director of food service at St. Francis Home in Richmond, she oversees the assisted living facility’s food service operations. She also hires and evaluates its cooks and food service workers.

Edna Harris, Director of Food Service at St. Francis Home.

“Before working with Goodwill, I was stuck with many issues,” she said. One of them was finding qualified, long-term employees. “All the paperwork you do and the money you spend – it’s hard when you go through the process of hiring a person, only to have it not work out 30 days later,” she said.

Harris called Goodwill Staffing Solutions (GSS) in May 2017. GSS is a staffing agency and social enterprise operated by Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia. Harris said GSS took a heavy burden from her shoulders from the start. GSS interviews all job applicants, manages and pays for background checks and drug tests, and coordinates the matching process with job seekers and employers.

Harris also appreciates the time and money she saves from not having to handle the hiring process alone. “I don’t worry about any of that. No paperwork, no harm, no foul. If I need someone, all I have to do is call Goodwill,” she said.

“A partnership with Goodwill is a win-win situation for employers,” said Joseph Edwards, a workforce solutions partner with GSS. He builds relationships with local businesses and helps solve their employment needs by providing workforce solutions, including hiring, training and consultative services.

“Our job applicants have access to all of Goodwill’s training and credential programs, which gives them the hard and soft skills our clients need on day one of work,” he said. Those programs include — but are not limited to–customer service, computer skills and digital literacy, workplace professionalism and financial education. They are available at no cost to participants at any of Goodwill’s five community employment centers across Central and Coastal Virginia.

Because GSS is a social enterprise operated by Goodwill, its net revenue benefits the non-profit organization’s mission of creating pathways to opportunity and success for job seekers with challenges to work. “People who come to Goodwill need a job, but more importantly, they need a chance,” said Harris.

She wants more people to understand the value Goodwill offers to employers and the difference it makes in the community. “Our partnership with Goodwill is also a way to pay it forward,” said Harris.

Seven months into her partnership, Harris has hired a number of employees from GSS for permanent positions. “I have no complaints. Working with Goodwill has been a godsend,” she said.