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Goodwill of Central Arizona

Goodwill of Central Arizona

Goodwill of Central Arizona has big-game impact on the Valley

You may think of Goodwill of Central Arizona as the place you donate extra household items or clothes. While that’s part of the value the organization delivers to our state, a lesser-known facet is its workforce development efforts. The non-profit helps put people to work through job creation, education and matching job-seekers with hiring companies.

“People always say to me, ‘Gee, I didn’t know Goodwill did that!’” says Jim Teter, the organization’s CEO.

While putting Arizonans to work is a little-known aspect of Goodwill of Central Arizona’s mission, its impact is huge. Last year, its 14 Career Centers helped more than 35,000 people in Maricopa County, Yuma and Prescott prepare for and look for work in the community; some 12,500 of those people found work after receiving services from Goodwill. Add to that the 200 net new jobs the organization creates on its own by opening five to seven new retail stores annually, and you’re looking at a powerful workforce development initiative, one recently estimated by local economist Dr. Elliott Pollack at more than $375 million a year.

“It’s sort of like having a Super Bowl here every year,” Teter says, while noting Goodwill has already served more than 25,000 people in 2012 and helped more than 9,500 of them get jobs.

“The economy is still in difficult shape, unemployment is over 8.2 percent, so there’s still a lot of need for people to get jobs,” he says. “I do think overall the economy is improving, but unemployment hasn’t improved a whole lot.”

Besides providing job search, resume creation and job skills training to job-seekers, Goodwill of Central Arizona has a dedicated Business Services team that helps companies connect with potential employees through business expos, job fairs, screenings and more. And all of its services are free, funded by the highly-visible retail operation that depends on donations.

“Our donations have been up 10 percent a year for the last four or five years, and that’s what makes everything work,” Teter says. “If we have donations, then we have things to sell. If we have things to sell, then we can generate the revenue we need to put people to work.”

Valley businesses looking to get involved can contact Goodwill of Central Arizona’s Business Service team at (602) 535-4000 or visit

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Goodwill of Central Arizona