Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania puts teens on the RISE
Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania trained Dion Williams in the construction trades and helped him get a job at Construction Junction in Point Breeze. He started removing old fixtures and woodwork from buildings without damaging them so the nonprofit group can resell them and works in the warehouse.
“I credit (Goodwill) a lot for that,” said Williams, 21, of Homewood. “They trained me for the job and the interview, actually. Before the interview, they did mock interviews with everybody in the class. They made sure I got it down pat.”
Goodwill last year graduated Williams among its first class in the RISE Project, or Reentry through Industry Specific Education, and is recruiting a second class that will start the third week of August. The agency works with people who have barriers to employment such as a physical or mental disability, low income, little education, a criminal record or lack of computer training.
“We had a lot of students come in who had never touched tools before,” recalled Tiffanee Heywood, Pennsylvania CareerLink site administrator. “We had students who had never gone to work before, so we were helping get their first job. We had students who had dropped out of school, and they weren't used to sitting in a classroom environment.”
Seventy percent of the training is hands-on. The free classes run eight to 10 weeks, depending on the needs of the trainee. Classes cover fields such as carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, brick masonry, landscaping, facilities management, painting, green building and weatherization. They take place in the Goodwill facility at 2400 E. Carson St. in the South Side.
Besides construction work, Goodwill teaches students how to dress for an interview and for work; how to write a resume and sell themselves during an interview; and how to act at work.
For example, Heywood said, Goodwill taught them not to recite raunchy rap lyrics or discuss the wild party they attended.
“A lot of them felt when they were on their lunch break, they could talk about anything they want,” she said. “We tell them they're still being judged, they're representing themsleves, and they're being watched.”
Fourteen of the 18 students received jobs upon completing the training, which is certified by the Home Builders Institute. Three students, including Williams, are working in construction trades.
Derek Stoltz, store manager of Construction Junction, called Williams a “phenomenal” worker.
“He's very young and very ambitous,” he said.
Williams wants to enroll in a technical school and eventually land a full-time job at Construction Junction.
Amir Freeman is among the program's graduates who got a job in a field other than construction. He is working at Landmark Security as a guard or usher at concerts. In the fall, he'll work at Pittsburgh Steelers games.
“If I hadn't gone to the Goodwill Center, I still probably would be struggling to figure out how to make a resume,” said Freeman, 19, of the Hill District.
Bill Zlatos is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Second African penguin chick hatches at National Aviary
- The Exchange offers reward for information that leads to the arrest of person who shot Ross clerk
- Icy roads, cold causing school delays, wrecks in Western Pa.
- Fall from Hazelwood roof kills man
- German firm Nextbike to provide first 500 bikes for Pittsburgh sharing program
- Pittsburgh fraud case, Uganda-based counterfeiting racket linked
- Strip District merchants say pay stations will drive out shoppers relying on free spots
- Pittsburgh Public Schools adopts no-tax-increase budget for 2015
- Tax exemptions cost Allegheny County governments $620M, auditor general reports
- Investors eager to trade cash for green cards in immigration program
- Motivation in slaying of Penn Hills couple remains unclear