This isn’t a story about employees from Goodwill of the Heartland decorating the organization’s new Helms Career Center in Muscatine with items from the adjoining Goodwill store at 2001 Cedar Plaza Drive.
Because, they said, that would violate a Goodwill policy prohibiting them from buying items in the store on days they work. But if not for that, they could have decorated the career center, because the Goodwill store has some cool stuff, including framed artwork that would have really matched the decor.
Members and staff of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry joined Goodwill officials Tuesday in holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the career center.
Based in Iowa City, Goodwill of the Heartland is a nonprofit organization that operates more than 20 stores, service and donation centers in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. It is a part of the national Goodwill organization that was founded in 1902 in Boston by the Rev. Edgar Helms, a Methodist pastor who collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city. He then trained and hired the poor to mend and repair the used goods, which were resold or given to the people who repaired them. For the most part, it’s a business model still used by Goodwill.
Dr. Charles Helms of Iowa City, a grandson of Goodwill’s founder, was on hand for Tuesday’s grand opening of the career center that bears his family name. He joined Pat Airy, Goodwill of the Heartland’s president and chief executive, along with other officials from the organization, in cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
The Helms Career Center in Muscatine, which opened March 16, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Its services are free and no appointment is necessary. It offers assistance with career exploration, accessing community resources, developing computer skills, using online tools, interviewing for jobs and completing resumes, cover letters and job applications.
Services offered by the center have been missing in Muscatine since 2011, when the community’s Iowa Workforce Development office was one of 36 closed statewide.
Muscatine’s Helms Career Center is the second to be opened by Goodwill of the Heartland. The first opened in Moline, Illinois, in 2013. It helped 524 people last year who sought employment as a stepping stone to better lives, according to Goodwill officials.
Mayor DeWayne Hopkins, who was on hand for the ribbon cutting, thanked Goodwill for opening the career center in Muscatine. It fills a need, he said.