CEO update: seeking signs of hope amid crisis

A message from Shae Johns, President/CEO, Southern Oregon Goodwill

I am looking for signs of hope, and in these challenging times while under executive orders in Oregon and California to remain closed, I look to our community and employees for the silver lining.

Let me start with the community’s compliance with our unprecedented ask to hold off on donations while we are complying with Oregon executive orders for closure. If you are someone who has been using this extended time at home to organize and clean, I thank you for storing and holding onto donations for Goodwill. Donations of clothing and household items are the starting point for our mission to enable employment. Under normal circumstances, we sell donated items at a fair market price to raise funds for our employment-based education and training programs that in 2019 benefited more than 5,000 job seekers in Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Siskiyou counties. While our regular stores are temporarily closed, this week we reopened our bid auctions at www.shopgoodwill.com/medford to begin to ship items to our online customers. We are fortunate to bring a few employees back to work within social distancing and safety protocols and applying the strictest hygiene methods to the items sold.

Another bright spot is our retail team’s ability to respond to a request from the Asante network of local hospitals for a donation of scrubs for healthcare professionals. The hospital staff will use the more than 400 items (our retail team members found on the racks from our temporarily shuttered stores) in place of their personal scrubs.  This helps contain the potential spread of infectious material because care providers can leave the scrubs at the hospital for a linen service to clean and sanitize. Our skeleton crew of managers were able to respond within hours of the request and I am so proud of our team. SO Goodwill is working with a local community response collaborative of charities and organizations to respond to community emergency needs at Rogue Valley Preparedness and Recovery Hub, https://roguevalley.recovers.org/.

Our Workforce Development team pivoted quickly to begin virtual coaching to best respond to the needs of people ready to find employment. Like other Goodwill organizations around the country, SO Goodwill has adapted to online platforms to continue to connect people with resources to find work or become job-ready via education or skill building for their desired career path – for life beyond the current crisis. Currently, two Career Counselors are doing the vital work of assisting with resumes, applications, and interviews. Our popular online classes are available in an online classroom format for GED exam preparation, computer skills, and the three levels of National Retail Federation certification classes. You will find out how to schedule an appointment with Lisa or Charlene on our website, www.sogoodwill.org/job-connection-online as well as our regional job board of current job opening with local employers at www.sogoodwill.org/job-posts.

Thank you again for being there for us; throughout this crisis, Goodwill will be working to serve the urgent workforce needs of the people of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Good. Will. Come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRFHTxBiTIo

Looking forward with hope.

— Shae

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