United Way of Collier County gives to Naples Job-Link
Goodwill's Town Center Job-Link & Mobile Job-Link Gets Boost
By: Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida
The first Job-Link center in Collier County was opened in 2012 inside the Goodwill store at the Naples Towne Center at 3579 East Tamiami Trail. In that first year, 165 job seekers received assistance at the center. That number grew to nearly 400 by 2017, with 48 individuals being placed into jobs in Collier County that year. The Job-Link program has continued to grow to serve the needs of the community adding computer skills training and certificate programs. Goodwill's Digital Learning Center provides free, self-paced and individualized digital training, and Northstar certification programs are available to help improve employability.
"As a certified assessment center for the Northstar Digital Literacy Project," said Fred Richards, VP of Community Support Services, "Goodwill Southwest Florida can demonstrate to an employer that the prospective candidate or incumbent employee possesses the digital competencies needed to be successful on the job."
Launched in 2014, the Mobile Job-Link vehicle is a 38-foot RV that is equipped with 12 computer stations providing employment services for people who are unemployed, underemployed or who have other disadvantages. In addition to driving the vehicle, the Mobile Job-Link coordinator provides all of the same services offered at the Job-Link Centers including jobs search assistance, Family Strengthening Services, Affordable Health Care enrollments, VITA (tax preparation)
"Lack of public transportation is one of the most significant barriers to self-sufficiency for people living in rural areas," explained Richards.
In 2018, 722 job seekers secured employment through the Job-Link program in the five counties served by Goodwill Industries of SWFL (Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry). The 15 Job-Link Centers across Southwest Florida have free computer access that enable job seekers to prepare resumes, look for online job listings, submit online resumes and job applications, and apply for social services. Many of these computers are equipped with adaptive technology to accommodate people with disabilities. For more information about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, visit www.goodwillswfl.org.