New Career Connection Center opens in Newton

NEWTON, Iowa – Goodwill Industries is working harder than ever to put more central Iowans to work, now by opening a new Career Connection Center in early September at the DMACC campus in Newton.

The center, which offers free services for job-seekers, is the result of a partnership between Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College.

The Newton Career Connection Center’s grand opening celebration will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at 600 N. Second Avenue West. The event will include a giveaway for the first 100 visitors.

Goodwill opened its first Career Connection Center in February 2013 in Southridge Mall in Des Moines. That center, also a partnership of Goodwill and DMACC, provides a variety of free services such as classes in basic computer skills and networking, advice from career coaches, resume assistance, interview practice and online training opportunities. The center’s work is in line with Goodwill’s mission to help job seekers find employment that matches their strengths and interests.

The center also helps local employers by offering a job board for postings, exclusive hiring events, recruitment assistance and workshop opportunities.

In 2013, Goodwill of Central Iowa served 5,058 people and placed 314 people into jobs in a record-breaking year.

Justin Bogers, Career Connection Center Coordinator, said the Southridge Center alone serves 15 to 25 people a day, and it has directly helped more than 150 people find jobs in 2014.

The Newton Center, Bogers said, will be “a wonderful venture.”

In addition to serving all job seekers, Bogers said, the center will work with high school students.

“We’ll be doing career preparation training in area high schools, and we’ll be working with DMACC’s students for their career readiness.”

Cassandra Halls, vice president of Goodwill of Central Iowa, said that Goodwill, partnering with DMACC, will positively impact the community as the goal is to help people get the skills they need to qualify for a good job.

“A solid partnership between DMACC and Goodwill of Central Iowa ensures not only educational success for students, but also employment success as they complete their education,” Halls said. “As partners, we continue to strive to seek opportunities that will best benefit both the business community and the people who live here.  The opening of the Newton Career Connection Center demonstrates our commitment to work together with a focus on meeting job seeker and employer needs well into the future.”

Individuals may make an appointment, or walk in the centers anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (or Saturday by appointment) to seek help. One-on-one services are available by request. The center will be staffed by a coordinator and an employment specialist or trainer.

The Career Connection Center and its staff are fully funded by revenue from Goodwill’s 18 retail stores in central Iowa. The Newton Career Connection Center primarily will target people in Marshall, Jasper and Poweshiek counties.