East County News Service
Photo: Luis Ortega
August 22, 2020 (San Diego) – As Goodwill San Diego retail stores and donation centers reopen, program participants continue to be brought back to work. On March 15, 2020, the organization was asked to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the shutdown, the nonprofit employed 1,400 community members. Today, Goodwill San Diego employs 894 people in San Diego County, 47.2% of whom are persons with a disability or other barriers to employment.
"There is a lot of opportunity for you at Goodwill based on your skillset,” shared Luis Ortega. Luis graduated from high school and got his first job at Goodwill San Diego. “I really enjoy hanging and tagging clothing for now. I like seeing how our donors help those in need with their donations.”
Luis’ autism sometimes makes him feel anxious about interacting with other people. Luis’ curiosity of other personalities has given him the courage to overcome his barrier of talking to others. Luis has grown in his position and now also sorts housewares and textiles. He has learned how to set prices and determines if a piece of clothing is sellable or not.
“We are so happy to once again be living our mission of providing training and employment to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment,” said Fabia Parkinson, Vice President of Human Services. “Many organizations in the county have not been able to re-employ their program participants. We are working diligently to have the means to expand our services and assist more people. The primary reason we exist is to serve people with disabilities and our community.”
Goodwill San Diego’s social enterprise gratefully accepts donations of clothing, shoes, home décor, household items, small appliances, electronics, sporting goods, and furniture. The donations are processed and placed into 34 retail locations including retail stores, bookstores, outlets, clearance center, and eCommerce platform to be sold to consumers. The revenue generated from these purchases enables the operation of 5 community employment centers that provide free job search assistance, soft skill workshops, and one-on-one assistance – virtually and in-person by appointment. This revenue also provides employment to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. The organization’s social enterprise model enables the nonprofit’s staff to serve the community with a dynamic and diverse workforce.
Goodwill San Diego is proud to serve people with disabilities, seniors, young adults, veterans, the unsheltered, military families, people reintegrating into our community from incarceration, and others. They aim to equip people to become gainfully employed, advance their careers, care for themselves, their families, and be financially independent. Available job opportunities are posted at www.sdgoodwill.org for the community to access.
Goodwill Industries of San Diego County is a local 501(c)3 nonprofit. It is a social enterprise that operates retail stores, outlets, and an eCommerce platform (shopgoodwill.com) to generate revenue and provide free services to the San Diego community. Goodwill retail stores are known for providing quality used merchandise.
You may visit them online at https://sdgoodwill.org to find donation and retail store locations and to learn more about the organization, and programs. Goodwill San Diego has been "Making Good Happen since 1930."