Working Iowa: Goodwill of the Heartland looking to fill hundreds of positions
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Dresses. Shoes. Scarves. Picture frames. Books. Even a stuffed animal friend.
You never know what you might find during a trip to Goodwill of the Heartland. But for Tracy French, she found something completely unique - a job! She’s been working at the southwest Cedar Rapids location for about a year.
“Before that I was actually a sleep apnea specialist, working with oral appliances for sleep apnea,” she said.
She now works as a retail specialist at Goodwill, which is quite a different path.
“It’s working for a mission, you’re working for a cause,” she said. “You’re not just working to put money in somebody’s pocket.”
Sometimes, she’ll work the registers and on other days she’ll straighten the shelves or clean carts.
“If we work in the back, in donations, then we’re there to greet our donors outback, take their items, and after our hampers are full, we bring them in, sort through them,” she said. “It’s just really interesting because you never really know what you’re going to find.”
Goodwill of the Heartland says it wants to hire at least 250 people by the end of 2021. That includes all of its operations from the stores to its oil production plant in Johnson County. The company is also looking to hire job coaches, like Joshua Baez.
“I serve as direct support to people who do face barriers to independence and the workplace, going out to their individual job sites and working with them to then overcome those barriers,” he said.
Due to the pandemic, he said there’s been an increased need for coaches as people try to find jobs.
The company provides all of the training needed to aboard their employees. Back at the store, Tracy French says it’s like working for a family.
“Some of our customers come in three times a day, they go around and get to know people after COVID, there were a lot of people we were worried about because we hadn’t seen them,” she said. “It’s fun to see the excitement on people’s faces when they find an item when I’ve looked for this glass for four years and finally found it here.”
Veronica Ingalls who’s been with the store for about four years said she appreciates Goodwill’s mission.
“Helping people find jobs for people who have barriers to independence,” she said. “I couldn’t see myself working anywhere else.”
Click or tap here to learn more about Goodwill career opportunities.
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