Goodwill Career Center Now Open In New Location

After a fast-track construction project to prepare the space, Goodwill Industries has opened the doors to the new location for its career center in the former Dillard’s store at Southgate Mall.

The organization had been located for 10 years at 1600 S. 4th Ave. in a building purchased some time ago by the city of Yuma for right-of-way for the planned 4th Avenue/16th Street intersection improvement project. Now ready to start moving soon on the preliminary work on that project, the city needed to have the building vacated.

“We had a tight timeline. We had to get out of the building,” said Marco Garcia, director of Goodwill’s workforce development initiative in Yuma who recently was promoted to senior director of workforce development. Along with his new title comes some oversight responsibilities for Goodwill’s workforce development in Phoenix as well as Yuma County.

Despite the scramble to move, the relocation “is a very exciting time for us,” Garcia said, noting that not only did the organization gain a modern new career center, it now has nearly three times the space to better serve the community. And it has easier access for its clients, with the entrance to the new career center on the west of the building off 8th Avenue with lots of convenient parking available.

The city even created a new address to reflect that location, 3097 S. 8th Ave., to make it easy for clients to find. For now the phone number remains 783-4190.

To show off the new center, a grand opening will be held at 10:30 a.m. May 7 with the chief executive officer and other senior staff from Goodwill there to “show their commitment to Yuma,” Garcia said. The public is invited to come by for tours of the center.

At the same time, the center will be holding a job fair, the Hiring Fest, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with six employers onsite that day.

“As guests come to visit us they can see our good work,” Garcia said.

The new location has almost 12,000 square feet with five rooms that will open into a large conference space that can seat 300 people. With the larger space the organization will be able to better assist job seekers with job searches placement, mock interviewing, resume preparation, computer training and job fairs. And it has twice the computer stations for the use of job seekers.

The additional room is welcome, indeed, as the organization experiences greater demand for its services. In 2011, the center logged 8,000 visits. In 2013, the number of visits had doubled to more than 16,000.

To meet the growing demand, the center has increased its staff from four employees when Garcia joined it in 2011 to the current total of eight staff. Soon another will be added, with the center having space ultimately for 16 staff members.

“We are very excited about our new facility because of our commitment to the job seekers and employers of Yuma County,” Garcia said. “We will now have the ability to provide those services at a greater scale.”

Goodwill will hold another, larger job fair on May 22 at the Yuma Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to relocate the Goodwill Thrift Store now located at 501 W. Catalina Driver into the remaining space in the former Dillard’s store.