COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — In recognition of several October observances, Goodwill hosted a special community job- and resource fair. The fair was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12 at Ambassadors of Christ Fellowship on Milgen Road. It emphasized resources for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
According to Goodwill of the Southern Rivers Director of Marketing and Communications Julie Bennett, the organization wanted to provide a designated event to honor Hispanic Heritage Month, Disability Awareness Month and National Diversity Week.
“We want to make sure that diverse communities know that they are welcome here,” said Bennett. “This is something we can support them with and help them with and it’s open to all.”
The event included 30 tables operated by organizations looking to hire locals or offering other community resources. These groups included representatives of local law enforcement agencies, education programs and Columbus Consolidated government, among others.
“I’m hoping to get a job from here,” said Kayla Bove, a military spouse who recently PCSed to Columbus with her partner. She expressed gratitude for the networking opportunity, adding this is the second job fair she has attended since arriving in the city.
Bove hopes to gain a position in business management, for which she holds a bachelor’s degree. She explained job fairs are helpful because you can meet with representatives face-to-face, instead of through paper or electronic applications.
Sgt. Stefan Shelling, a member of the Columbus Police Department (CPD) recruiting and background unit, was also at the fair to talk with potential hires.
Shelling spoke of diversity and inclusion in the community saying everyone should have equal opportunity to receive a higher quality of life, which is partially achieved by the work CPD does daily.
“We strive to make this community better by being proactive as far as our policing efforts go,” said Shelling. “So it’s important for us to identify additional people who want to join our team so we can start getting more officers out on the street.”
Goodwill also ran several tables of its own, offering information about open positions, resources and other upcoming events in the area. Representatives of its Bridge program said these resource fairs have been especially helpful for connecting with community members.
The program is free and designed to help locals earn their GEDs in preparation for joining the workforce, going to college or beginning a military career.
According to Bridge Program Manager Wilena McClain, even if potential students are not at the job fairs, oftentimes family members in attendance will pass on the information.
She hopes community members will take advantage of using the program and other local initiatives. McClain said, “There’s a wealth of resources that help people to get ahead in life to finish their goals.”
Two upcoming events hosted by Goodwill of the Southern Rivers are aimed at helping those with a criminal record earn jobs. On Oct. 25 the organization will host a seminar led by a local legal professional about getting criminal records cleared followed by a hiring event featuring “background friendly” employers who are willing to hire those with criminal histories.
As Veteran’s Day approaches, Bennett noted Goodwill of the Southern Rivers also has an ongoing veterans services program. The program includes various skills trainings, opportunities for employment and other resources specifically for former servicemembers.
According to Bennett, all of Goodwill of the Southern Rivers’ events and programs are accessible for free and funded through donations. More information about these programs can be found at www.goodwillsr.org.