- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 3, 2009

Being told to get a job and find employment is not as easy as it seems, and in some cases many people don’t know where to start. Goodwill of Greater Washington is here to help, providing a training program to learn how to seek employment.

“If anyone needs an opportunity, then Goodwill is where to start,” Dayton Wingfield, a D.C. resident, said. “It’s a good place, and there are many different programs.”

The 27-year-old took part in the fall training program for Environmental Services provided by Goodwill and its partner TD Bank.

In June 2009, TD Bank gave a $7,500 grant to Goodwill of Greater Washington to help conduct the training program, which provides students with occupational skills training, conflict resolution, anger management, goal-setting, job search techniques and career coaching.

“We wanted to address the serious needs of the community,” said Paula Wengerd, community relations group manager with TD Bank. “The program fits well within our giving pillars and area of focus: affordable housing, education and financial literacy and the environment.”

She touted TD Bank’s history of giving back to the community and participating in programs with other nonprofit groups in part by awarding grants that benefit job training initiatives.

With Goodwill, bank employees also helped students get real-world experience in searching for a job. A few TD Bank executives conducted mock interview sessions with students, such as Mr. Wingfield, to help them understand what to expect as they seek employment.

Rebecca Acevedo, public relations manager with TD Bank said, “We think it’s worthwhile and important to the community.”

The mock interview gave Mr. Wingfield good tips about posture and language, and it helped him correct some “minor problems.”

“(The mock interview) helped me,” he said. “It gave me confidence that I was doing something right.”

Mr. Wingfield mentioned how beneficial it was to learn how to put a resume together, make a professional portfolio, and prepare for an interview.

The Environmental Services program trains students in janitorial work, and it is a “green program,” according to Brendan Hurley, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Goodwill of Greater Washington. “It’s a very green program, and efforts they make are environmentally friendly,” he said.

The classes are primarily funded by Goodwill business and retail and take part during the day for a period of five weeks. After the five-week program, graduating students receive a certificate of completion showing skills and knowledge in a specific area.

“We provide our students and graduates with the knowledge they need to secure their employment and gain real-life experience,” Mr. Hurley said. “We better prepare them for the work force. The support from Goodwill extends beyond their graduation date.”

Mr. Hurley said the certificate of completion means “self-efficiency and dignity for the graduates.”

“The graduation ceremony is so moving and extremely rewarding,” he said.

Mr. Wingfield graduated from the program and is employed part time with Goodwill as contract worker, which consists of custodial duties. He exercises the skills he learned through the Goodwill training program in conjunction with TD Bank.

Goodwill helped me a lot,” Mr. Wingfield said. “They helped me because I needed a job. They did what they said, and now I am working.”

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