Member Profile: Goodwill Staffing, Colorado Springs

Goodwill Staffing_Josh ChevalierYear enterprise began: 1998
Enterprise sponsor: Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado
Jobseekers placed in 2016: 470

Based in Colorado Springs, Goodwill Staffing began operations in 1998 as an extension of Discover Goodwill and its mission to expand employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged individuals throughout the Pikes Peak Region. In addition to helping job seekers secure employment, Goodwill’s Job Development team networked with top employers to learn their unique staffing needs and address their concerns over staffing shortages. This candid dialogue, along with extensive research and community needs assessments, inspired the establishment of Goodwill Staffing, a full-scale staffing agency. Former Alliance member (now retired) Dennis Moore also played a big role in Goodwill’s deliberations and final decision to launch this employment-based enterprise.

As Goodwill Staffing approaches its 20th anniversary, we spoke with Program Manager Josh Chevalier to learn more about the company’s expanding programs and roles.

How did you get into the alternative staffing business?
My staffing career began working with specialized staffing agencies in Colorado Springs. This experience taught me that our business partners had needs outside our scope of expertise. After exploring Goodwill Staffing, I was impressed by their overarching objectives to meet the demands of clients from all angles and, in turn, make a greater impact on and provide broader opportunities in our community. After getting to know more about the agency and learning more about their Program Manager position, I realized Goodwill Staffing was a great fit for me and aligns closely with my personal and career goals.

What job seeker population does Goodwill Staffing work with?
Our candidate referrals from the El Paso County Department of Human Services (EPCDHS) are economically disadvantaged individuals initially seeking some form of public assistance, including single parents, chronically-unemployed individuals and those who have moved through the community corrections system. Our efforts are also focused on helping un- and under-employed individuals secure jobs and bypass public assistance altogether.

How many job seekers does your enterprise serve annually?
In 2016, we enrolled 2,594 applicants and placed over 470 individuals into employment.

How are candidates referred to your staffing service?
EPCDHS encourages all its beneficiaries to apply with us, hence our high number of enrollees. We also get candidates via our website, word-of-mouth and networking. Additionally, we utilize conventional and social media as recruiting tools.

What types of support services have you found to be critical to your workers’ success?
Helping clients acquire proper interview and work attire is essential for their long-term success.  We also partner with EPCDHS and Goodwill to provide child care assistance, job-readiness training, occupational certifications and other jumpstarts to successful careers.

What types of employers do you serve?
Our customers represent a wide mix of hospitality, construction, manufacturing, administration, warehousing and other industries for which we provide skilled, general labor and administrative support. We hope to expand our healthcare staffing opportunities and will be heavily targeting the medical industry in the upcoming year.

What marketing methods or messages have you found to be most effective in attracting new customers?
We participate in lead generation groups and the Chamber of Commerce. We’ve also increased our involvement with the local Homebuilders Association to establish more partnerships in the construction industry. Our communications to prospective customers focus on our business services rather than program objectives, emphasizing ways we can make an employer’s hiring process easier, more cost-effective and help reduce their turnover.

What are the biggest challenges of operating a staffing service in your market?
It’s an ongoing challenge to get in front of decision makers and establish our name in the business community as a full-service staffing agency. People often associate the Goodwill brand with retail and donation operations, and we work hard to expand that perception to include specialized enterprises like Goodwill Staffing.

As a manager, what do you wish you had more time for?
In my current role, I wish there was more time in the day to implement best practices. I believe that Recruiting/Staffing is ever-changing. Staying ahead of the curve and adopting a proactive, instead of reactive, approach is necessary to be successful.

What are your Goodwill Staffing’s main goals for the future?
We are aiming to increase Goodwill Staffing’s presence in the medical industry and create more opportunities for the candidates we serve.

What about Goodwill Staffing makes you most proud?
That is a tough question … I would say knowing the impact we make in our community. Being an integral part of the Goodwill mission and empowering people to find sustainable employment is no easy task but something that my team and I are proud to accomplish.

What advice would you offer to someone considering alternative staffing as a strategy in their community?
Understand your market and the demand for the service you provide. Develop a strategy that is competitive and differentiates your services in the community. Include market research and make sure clients adopt your mission. Then, execute and deliver a high level of customer service.

To learn more, please visit Goodwill Staffing Services online.

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