A partnership between the city of Little Rock's Housing and Neighborhood Programs Department and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas aims to meet people where they are to help them find employment.
In addition to the Goodwill state headquarters on Scott Hamilton Drive in southwest Little Rock, people seeking career counseling can meet with Goodwill representatives at two neighborhood resource centers: the West Central Community Center on John Barrow Road and the Willie Hinton center on 12th Street.
"We just look to be available and do what we can for the community," Goodwill program specialist Gail Holmes said. "Whoever shows, we're here to help them and just to let them know what we're here for."
Holmes and other specialists from Goodwill meet one-on-one with people to talk about career services and opportunities from 10 a.m. to noon every second Monday at the Willie Hinton center and from 9 to 11 a.m. every third Tuesday at the West Central Community Center.
Holmes said she starts each meeting with two questions: what's the person's name and what kind of job are they looking for. Oftentimes, people will answer with "anything," but Holmes pushes them to take an online "interest profiler" quiz that helps them narrow down what kind of jobs they'd actually want to do -- and hopefully stay in long-term.
Willie Carpenter, a resource specialist supervisor for the Housing and Neighborhood Programs Department, said having Goodwill's resources available somewhere community members might already frequent is valuable.
"Citizens come in all the time and look for information," Carpenter said. "That's one of the things that we encourage people to do is empower themselves in whatever area they may need extra assistance in."
Goodwill is usually one of the first places Carpenter sends someone seeking help with career services, she said.
"They have job training programs, and they're constantly growing. They have a computer lab, things that can give citizens an extra boost in terms of getting their GED or HVAC certification. That's why we partner with them," Carpenter said.
Holmes said bringing Goodwill's services to neighborhood resource centers could be helpful to people who lack transportation or are less comfortable going to the headquarters.
"We try to get rid of all the barriers that prevent people from being successful," she said.
Holmes said she loves helping someone look for opportunities, then getting a call that something worked out.
"It's always a thrill," she said.
Metro on 05/13/2019