Making it through tough times

MARYSVILLE — Marysville-area job seekers can learn ways of improving their employment odds at the Marysville Goodwill in the New Year.

MARYSVILLE — Marysville-area job seekers can learn ways of improving their employment odds at the Marysville Goodwill in the New Year.

Starting Jan 5, the Marysville Goodwill Job Training and Education Center is offering courses on retail and customer service, English for speakers of other languages, and basic computer skills, all of which will run for eight weeks.

Seattle Goodwill Public Relations Director Betsy McFeely explained that all of the classes and services are provided free of charge, thanks to Goodwill’s stores and their surrounding communities. When community members donate items to their local Goodwill stores, the net proceeds from selling those items are used to fund Goodwill’s job training and education programs.

Marysville Goodwill Job Training and Education Specialist Gusti Clark elaborated that all of the Marysville Goodwill’s job training programs have seen an influx of applicants due to the number of layoffs and displacements created by the current economy. While their computer and English classes have been especially sought after, she noted that their retail and customer service training is in demand as well.

“Everyone’s looking for the soft skills and looking to get back into the workplace, as far as resume writing and interviewing skills, and really basically upgrading their computer skills as well,” Clark said.

Clark described their retail and customer service training and their adult basic education courses as the Marysville Goodwill Job Training and Education Center’s two main programs. She added that this includes lessons on computer subjects such as Windows Vista, Microsoft Word and Excel 2007.

“All of our programs combined, in the last year, have served more than 100 individuals of various backgrounds,” said Clark, who listed not only laid-off and displaced workers as among the Job Training and Education Center’s clients, but also homemakers, first-time job-seekers and those whose employment histories are “not solid,” including those with substance abuse issues.

Janette Vital was laid off near the start of the year, after eight years of working a payroll job in the aviation technical services field. A friend encouraged her to come into the Marysville Goodwill and sign up for its job training courses.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Vital, who plans to remain in the same career field, but hopes to become more employable in that occupation with what she’s learned. “I got retrained in my skills, I’ve met new friends and I’m looking for another job.”

By contrast, Martha Urenda is hoping to move into a new career. The restaurant worker has been taking English and computer classes at the Marysville Goodwill, for both professional and personal reasons.

“I feel more comfortable speaking English after taking the classes,” Urenda said. “I can go outside and talk to people and not be so shy because I know they’ll understand me. I want to help my kids with their homework and talk to their teachers, and not have to have somebody help me.”

By improving her English and word processing skills, Urenda is ultimately aiming to gain employment at a bank or an office.

“The people here [at the Marysville Goodwill] have been very nice and helpful,” Urenda said.

For more information, call 360-657-4058 or 360-657-4418. You may also visit the Marysville Goodwill Job Training and Education Center at 9315 State Ave.

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