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Free Job Training Classes for Veterans

October 10, 2013

iStock_000018457828XSmallLocal veterans and their families may get a leg up in their job search under a new collaborative program that offers enhanced computer and productivity training for the workplace.

The Veterans Productivity Pathway is a free program designed to prepare veterans and their dependents for positions in productivity-related jobs, such as project management, production and operations. This new initiative is the result of a collaborative partnership between Lean Sigma Professionals, The Employers Association and Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.

Participation in the Veterans Productivity Pathway is first-come, first-serve for up to 30 qualifying veterans. The program is designed in three consecutive phases that build upon one another, including Excel training, a three-day Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification and a six-day Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept combining Lean and Six Sigma that results in increased productivity in the workplace. Multiple dates for the Excel training are offered in October. The three-day Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification will be offered November 5-7 and November 12-14. The six-day Lean Six Sigma Green Belt classes will be offered in December and January.

Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

Know a vet who may be interested in participating? For more information, contact Angela Amos at (704) 332-0262 or via email at

DIY Cup and Saucer Birdfeeder

October 8, 2013

I love to get creative with my Goodwill finds, and these bird feeders certainly fit the bill for a unique, yet simple, DIY project. Here are six easy steps to turn a mismatched cup and saucer set into a whimsical and creative bird feeder:


  1. Find a cute cup and saucer set for a steal at your nearest Goodwill retail store! While you’re there, you can also buy some mismatched spoons to create a perch for your feathered friends if you would like.
  2. Purchase a pipe and pipe cap from your local hardware store in your desired color or metal. Use copper piping for a sleek and shiny look or go affordable with black pipe that will blend into your garden plants. Make sure the pipe is slightly longer than you want your feeder to stand so that you have the ability to hammer it into the soil securely.
  3. Securely glue the cup (and spoon) to the saucer. Gorilla glue works great for this. Once that is dried, glue the pipe cap to the base of your cup and saucer combo. Try to get it centered to prevent wobbling when the birds land on it. Let it dry completely.
  4. Pick a place outside to put your feeder and pound the pipe into the ground by about a foot or until it will not wobble or fall over.
  5. Carefully line up the pipe cap glued to the bottom of your feeder with the pipe in the ground to make sure your feeder will stay on.
  6. Fill your feeder with bird seed and enjoy the show!

Liz Nelson is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston and a regular contributor to Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @

Halloween Inspiration at Goodwill

October 2, 2013

halloweendecorLooking for a unique Halloween costume that will turn heads but won’t empty your pockets? At Goodwill, you’ll find everything you need to create the one-of-a-kind look that you desire.

By purchasing gently used items, you’ll save on your Halloween costumes and decorations, and no one will know that you didn’t buy new! Not only will you save big, but your purchase will help provide job training services to people like Fletcher who face barriers to employment in the Charlotte region.

zombie-toddHere are some easy costume ideas you can implement using items from your local Goodwill. And remember to share a photo of your finished creation with us via Facebook or Twitter!

Zombie: Find a ball gown or vintage suit. Purchase face makeup to create the ‘dead’ look and smear fake blood on your face, hands or clothing.

Vampire: Pick out a button-down shirt and black pants. Create a dark-colored cape from a secondhand tablecloth, sheet or curtain. Top off the look with white face paint, black eye makeup and fangs.

Pirate: Pair a white button-down shirt with black pants and black vest. Add a sash around your waist, a seaworthy hat and pirate makeup to complete the costume.

Witch: Grab a black dress and black pointed hat. Wear a long dark wig, tights and black shoes. Finish the look with face paint and a broom.

Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

What will you be this Halloween? Share your ideas in the comments.

Success Story: Edith

September 27, 2013

IMG_7747crSince the 1980s, thousands of U.S. jobs have been lost as manufacturers began moving their operations overseas. A 20-year veteran of the garment industry, Edith Sanchez came to a crossroads in her career when her position as a tailor was eliminated as her employer filed for bankruptcy.

Edith relocated to Charlotte from New Jersey in 2010, seeking a fresh start and new opportunities. But as a single mother of three kids, she once again faced challenges to finding employment in the retail industry, which required time away from her family in the evenings and on weekends.

“I knew I needed to improve my skills in technology and computers,” said Edith. “It was important to me to find a position that would also allow me to continue my education.”

Edith enrolled in the Banking & Customer Service training program at Goodwill. In addition to gaining competitive skills in keyboarding, computer applications and customer service excellence, the program armed Edith with networking and career search strategies. These skills paid off when Edith met a local business owner and, over the course of several discussions, developed a business idea and proposed partnership for offering specialized services to Charlotte’s Hispanic/Latino population.

Today Edith is excited about what the future holds. While her business proposal is still in development, she feels confident that the skills, knowledge and network of contacts she gained at Goodwill will enhance her career plans.

Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

Has networking ever helped you land a job? Tell us about it in the comments.

Decorating with Thrifted Finds

September 24, 2013
Toiletry Storage via HGTV
Knobs as hooks via Pinterest
Vintage books via Pinterest

Whenever I’m looking for a quick way to spruce up a room, the first place I turn to is vintage shopping. Most of the time vintage and thrift finds are timeless and affordable, which is perfect when you are looking to make a small change to a room.

I think these toiletry draws and knobs are a fun way to add some extra storage to a room, while I love the ombre effect you can add to a bookcase with old, vintage books.

How do you decorate with vintage and thrift finds?

AllisonPlatteAllison Platte is a Charlotte, NC blogger & internet marketing specialist that writes a lifestyle and fashion blog, In the Queen City.

Sneak Peek at our New Monroe Store

September 20, 2013

Our Monroe retail store has moved and we are excited to celebrate the grand opening of the new location tomorrow, September 21. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m., the public is invited to shop the store beginning at 9:00 a.m. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the great fall merchandise ready to be scooped up.


If you prefer to browse for the best shopping deals, here are our suggestions of the top five items to look for this weekend:

  • Halloween costumes – Let your imagination run wild this Halloween. Goodwill offers unique, gently used items that can help you put together the perfect costume without breaking the bank.
  • Boots – Whether you like chunky heels or sleek silhouettes, our wide selection of boots and shoes will complement any fall wardrobe.
  • Sporting equipment – Fall sports have started and now is the best time to stock up on sporting equipment and athletic gear that can carry over into spring.
  • Books – What better way to curl up on a chilly fall day than with a good book and a cozy blanket?
  • Seasonal décor – Make your house the most festive on the block by decorating with seasonal items like jack-o’-lanterns, spooky scarecrows, Thanksgiving turkeys and much more.
Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

What are you excited for this fall?

Making Small Rooms Look and Feel Bigger

September 17, 2013

Dreaming of ways to escape the cramped feeling of your pocket-sized living space? Dealing with a dark family room? Is your tiny bedroom being eaten alive by your oversized bed? Relax. You can make the most of your compact quarters by following these creative ways to redesign your rooms.

small apartment1Cool Colors

When choosing a shade to paint your room, opt for a lighter color. Dark colors tend to make an already small space feel even smaller. Choosing a bright color makes a room feel more open.

Putting Together the Pieces

Furnish your room with items that are in line, proportionally speaking, with your living space and avoid extremes. Large pieces can overpower an area, but too-small furnishings can clutter it. For example, a full size bed is a better option for a small room than a queen size. From coffee tables to armoires, there are several options to consider to when searching for pieces to fill and balance your rooms. Visit your local Goodwill retail store to check the hidden gems they have waiting for you!

Choose a few large accent pieces instead of many small items. Look for pieces with large, bold patterns. Smaller patterns can appear too busy and detract from the room’s overall look and feel.

Rearrange your room so that there is space between your furniture and the wall.  The space between the furniture and walls gives the appearance that there is more space in a room.

Everything is Illuminated

Provide an ample amount of light in a small room. A well-lit room can do wonders in helping to open up an area. Whether coming from a lamp or natural sunlight, various sources of light create a pleasant effect. To save space, consider mounting sconces on your walls. Any amount of space that you can save will benefit you in the long run.

small apartment2Up and Out

The space offered by empty walls can be beneficial for both decoration and storage. Adding a shelf to your walls creates a convenient place to display any special keepsake items for which there would otherwise be no space. Best of all, it’s an inexpensive, easy and fun DIY project!

Mirrors are helpful in creating an optical illusion to virtually enlarge a small space. When a window is present in a room, it can also work hand-in-hand with a mirror to add a spacious feel to any room.

Following these tips when updating rooms in your home will serve as a great inspiration to create space in tight areas. It may surprise you to see how much these small adjustments can change the look and feel of a room. And remember, when moving into your smaller “home sweet home,” make sure that all the stuff that didn’t make the move is given a second life by donating them to your local Goodwill.

Jennifer prof picJennifer Parker is a handy woman to have around the house. She manages a home improvement blog in the living, design, and decor niches and also writes for HomeAdvisor and Floor and Decor. Jennifer’s work can be found on various interior design and remodeling blogs around the web.


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