Goodwill® Launches New Light Manufacturing Training Program

Greg Phillips at work in Goodwill's Business Contracts Center

Greg Phillips is at work in Goodwill’s Iowa City Contract Services Location

January 18th, 2017 — Goodwill of the Heartland is set to launch a new light manufacturing training certificate program in Cedar Rapids in early 2017.  The program will offer paid training to people as they build the skills they need to succeed in area manufacturing jobs.

The organization recently received funding to get the program started, a $30,000 grant from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.  Jess Schamberger, Vice President of Operations for Goodwill, noted this grant will help both job seekers and manufacturers.

Schamberger said, “Our local manufacturing sector offers good paying jobs, but we know that many companies are experiencing workforce issues.  They are having difficulty recruiting and retaining skilled workers for entry level positions.”

She added, “With this new program, we can meet a local workforce need while also connecting job seekers with livable wage jobs.  Our goal is to help those that are unemployed or underemployed achieve greater financial independence while simultaneously providing a workforce solution that closes the skill gap manufacturers face.”

Goodwill’s program will use on-the-job experience and classroom-based training to prepare participants for manufacturing employment.  The trainees will work a minimum of 200 hours on assembly, packaging, inspection and recycling production processes. The elements of the program are based on the Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model, an industry standard created by manufacturers.

The on-the-job experience component will take place through Goodwill’s Contract Services Division.  Goodwill may be best known for its retail stores.  These stores support its mission to help people that face barriers to independence.  One way this mission happens is through work experience and skills training in Contract Services.

Goodwill’s Contract Services Division is ISO 9001:2008 certified, with locations in both Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.  The organization partners with area manufacturers to create paid training opportunities for people that face employment barriers.  Goodwill currently has job training programs in place targeted to specific populations like homeless veterans, individuals with disabilities and people re-entering the workforce after incarceration, for example.  This new program is different because there are no restrictions on who it can serve.

Goodwill will also provide case management and job placement help.  Case management will connect participants with needed community resources and address other employment barriers including transportation, healthcare, financial management and childcare.  Placement help will include assistance with job searches, resume writing and completing applications and interview prep.  Services will also include follow up with both employers and workers to help individuals maintain their jobs long-term.

Goodwill is currently recruiting trainees for this new program, which includes immediate paid work experience.  To participate or for more information, contact Jessica Schamberger at (319) 739-5019.

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