Friday, December 14, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Calls to Goodwill
job help center jump
after attacks

With record layoffs and skyrocketing demand on social services since Sept. 11, calls to the Job Connections program at Goodwill Industries of Hawaii have more than doubled.

Goodwill provides training in food service, cashier and customer service, commercial custodial services, retail sales operations and hotel housekeeping, while occupational skills training is available on a fee-for-service arrangement. Goodwill participates in government programs such as the Employment Training Fund and the Workforce Investment Board, which often provide funding for students' training, according Laura Kay Rand, Goodwill director of public relations and development.

Neri N. Mitchell, left, made a job interview presentation in Goodwill's Job Connections program yesterday. Others in the class were Jennifer Tam, second from left, Marlene Schimmelfennig, Andrea Pangkeee and instructor Mona Cablay.

Putting its practices where its mouth is, Goodwill has recently hired 22 people to help handle increased holiday season traffic at its retail stores. Donations are up 9 percent, customer traffic in stores is up 15 percent and sales are up as a result. "We have an additional shift going right now, preparing merchandise for stores," Rand said.

The job market is highly competitive, especially now, she said. "People are looking for a little bit of an edge so they can stand out in interviews or have increased confidence going into interviews," Rand said.

In addition to interview skills, the Isenberg Street Job Connections center provides job listings, newspaper classified ads and computers, "not only so people can do resumes, but so they can practice and increase their skills," Rand said.

A student who graduated yesterday was jumping on job leads posted at the center and was eagerly setting up interviews, she said. "If she gets a job she's going to be in a much better position for the holidays," Rand said.

Zippy's Restaurants has hired several graduates of Goodwill's job training programs.

"Several people from their programs have worked out really well for us," Community Relations Manager Roger Higa said. "I've been telling them to keep referring some of them over."

A member of Goodwill's business advisory committee, Higa believes the organization's graduates "have what a lot of people don't," he said, "they have the drive and desire and all they really need is a chance to prove themselves, that they can be an asset to a company. They just want a chance. I think for us, giving them the opportunity, they've really shown they can make a difference, not only for the company but for themselves and their families as well. It's a win-win situation for all."

Last year Job Connections placed 700 people, a 33 percent increase from the year before. It would seem to follow that this year's increase will be even larger.

For more information on Job Connections, call 946-9675 or visit

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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