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Goodwill job training programs: A volunteer’s perspective

October 3, 2011

Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Cobb is a Wells Fargo employee who is spending six weeks with us as part of the company’s volunteer leave program. We asked her to share her perspective from “inside” Goodwill, so that we can follow along with her during her time with us.

Goodwill volunteer, Elizabeth Cobb

It was about a year ago when I learned that Wells Fargo offered a volunteer leave to its employees.  At that time, I’d been volunteering with Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont for about five years, and I’d become passionate about placing graduates of its Banking & Customer Service Training Program into permanent positions with Wells Fargo.

So, I completed an arduous application, and about six months later, I learned that I’d been awarded a six-week leave to support the Banking & Customer Service Training Program.  I’ve been looking forward to this time with Goodwill all year, and I’m finally here!

Sitting in the Banking and Customer Service class, I’ve been admiring the enthusiasm, anticipation and commitment of the trainees.  Many of them have jobs outside of this class and some have limited transportation options, so it’s not easy for them to get here.  But they show up at Goodwill every day anyway, preparing themselves for a new career or developing new skill sets or creating new opportunities that will enable them to better support their families. Their persistence in a difficult economic climate is the reason I am here.

So far, my Goodwill partners and I have been meeting with Recruiters, Trainers and Hiring Managers from areas at Wells Fargo that could most benefit from a continuous pipeline of Banking & Customer Service graduates – tellers, operations processing managers, and customer service representatives.

One challenge we’re working to overcome is the perception from the local marketplace of Goodwill as solely a provider of vocational rehabilitation services.  Hiring managers in the job market seem surprised to learn that Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont also offers a Banking and Customer Service training program (along with other industry-specific programs) every nine weeks to job seekers who have been pre-screened and interviewed.

We’re going on-site at Wells Fargo to meet with teller, customer service and operations Recruiters, Trainers and Hiring Managers.  We’re also inviting these same people to Goodwill to tour the facility and meet some of the current trainees.

I will post another update in two weeks, to let you know what my Goodwill partners and I have been up to in the interim!

Tell us: Did you know Goodwill offered these programs? What questions do you have for Elizabeth?

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