Linda’s Story

Blog_Post_Linda-215x215 (1)The company Linda had previously worked for went under in 2008. Despite 23 years in customer service, she couldn’t find another job. “It wasn’t a good time to be looking for work,” she said. “No one was hiring.”

When Linda visited the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Rivergate, she had been out of work for three years. “At that time, we were about two months from losing our home,” she said. “I told them I needed a job and I was willing to do anything.”

Three weeks later, Linda got a job tagging clothes in one of Goodwill’s downtown Nashville warehouses. After seven months, she was promoted to assistant supervisor in the warehouse. “I love helping people and encouraging people, and this job allowed me to do just that.”

Linda’s second promotion and current position allows her to help even more people. As a Goodwill job coach, she travels to different locations and works one-on-one with Goodwill clients who have a disability. “It is such a rewarding job,” she said with a smile. “When they master a task, I get excited, too.”

Linda said working for Goodwill has changed her life. “It has restored my faith and given me courage,” she said. “I can get up every morning with a smile on my face because I have a job that I love.”

Watch Linda’s Story:

Mission in HD: Goodwill Turning Channel On Analog TV Donations

Tv_Web-Page_GraphicMany of us can still recall the days when it was necessary to carefully turn a dial on your television or adjust the antenna to tune in some stations and get a clear picture.

For decades, the donation of these analog TVs to Goodwill filled our stores with useful merchandise and funded our mission of changing people’s lives through the power of work. The declining demand for these analog TVs, the increasing volume of donated analog televisions to Goodwill and the sky-rocketing costs to recycle them have forced us to adjust our policy on the acceptance and sale of older televisions.

Starting Nov. 30, 2014, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee will no longer accept donations of older televisions – picture tube, wooden console or projection televisions at our stores or donation express centers in middle and west Tennessee.

We will continue to accept working flat-screen televisions (such as LCD, LED and plasma models). Also, as the supply of these older televisions diminishes, we will no longer sell them in our 34 stores.

Their sale — and sales of other donated goods — provides employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.  So far this year, Goodwill has placed more than 6,800 people in jobs across middle and west Tennessee. For those seeking to recycle older model TVs after Nov. 30, we suggest contacting your local municipal or county solid waste department for more information or visiting our website, for a referral list. We appreciate your understanding of this policy and your continued support of Goodwill Industries and its mission.

For a list of recycling centers that may take your old picture tubes: Go Here

Marvelous’s Story

Blog_Post_Marvelous-215x215After a car accident left her with serious injuries to her back, knee, ankle and foot, doctors told Marvelous she would never walk again. “I spent four months in a hospital bed,” she said. “My foot was shattered, but I was determined to prove my doctors wrong, and I did.”

Marvelous would continue to push herself. A year after the accident, she accepted a position as a dietary cook at a nursing home, but after 13 years, she had to leave the job she loved. “I could no longer do the heavy lifting the job required because I was in so much pain,” she said. “Arthritis had set in.”

Marvelous had a hard time finding another job that would meet her needs. After six months of unemployment, she moved from Indiana to Tennessee to live with her daughter and granddaughter. “I went through struggles, but my daughter was there to help me.”

When Marvelous stopped by the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Clarksville, she had been out of work for three years. “I never gave up. I was determined to find a job.”

Her determination paid off. Goodwill offered Marvelous a job as a clothing processor at the Clarksville store on Ft. Campbell Boulevard. She was excited to get a job offer, but concerned she wouldn’t be able to do the job. “I didn’t think I would make it through one day.”

Now, seven years later, Marvelous is still going strong. “Goodwill gave me a chance to work again, and I am grateful for that,” she said. “I love my job, and I love my Goodwill family.”

Watch Marvelous’s Story:

Richard’s Story

Blog_Post_Richard-215x215Richard had spent most of his life changing tires on tractor trailers. After a while all that heavy lifting took a toll on his body. “I have a bad disk in my back, and I just couldn’t do the job anymore,” he said.

Over the next several months, Richard applied for dozens of jobs, and he even landed a few interviews, but nothing ever panned out. “I was unemployed for almost a year,” he said. “We got behind on our bills and were just days from losing our home.”

Richard was about to give up when he received a job offer from Goodwill. Today, he spends his days greeting our donors at the Smyrna drive-thru location on Presidents Place. “I’ve been with Goodwill for five years now, and I love it,” he says. “I have regular donors that stop by just to see me.”

Richard said he is grateful to Goodwill for giving him an opportunity to work again. “If it weren’t for Goodwill, I would probably be out on the street,” he said. “Goodwill has added stability to my life. I can now pay my bills and take care of my wife.”

During his year of unemployment, Richard was looking for a job that would pay the bills. Today he’s happy he found something much more than that. “It makes me feel good to work for an organization like Goodwill,” he says. “I love my job, and I love Goodwill.”

Watch Richard’s Story:

4 Ways to Win Over Potential Employers at a Job Fair

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One of the best resources for job hunters today is the job fair. At a job fair, potential employers come together to represent their companies and industries, and meet with those who are seeking employment. If you can impress a representative at a job fair, it can go a long way toward finding that coveted position. Here are four ways you can put your best foot forward.

  1. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
    An elevator pitch is a brief pitch about a product or idea you are trying to sell. The name reflects the idea that you should be able to explain the product during the time of a typical elevator ride. In this case, the product is you. Your pitch should include a quick summary of your professional/educational background, skills, and strengths that can benefit the recruiter.
  2. Dress for Success
    Wear your most professional clothes, regardless of your industry. Make sure that they are pressed and neat, and wear shoes that are going to hold up and not hurt as you’re on your feet all day long. This doesn’t mean sneakers, though: You want your shoes to be conservative and businesslike, but still comfortable for a long day of wear. Just like any meeting, be professional and polite in your look and demeanor.
  3. Bring Your Resume
    This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure your resume is up to date, without errors, and bring enough copies for each recruiter. Keep your resumes in a briefcase or another professional-looking carrier; this will also allow you to store business cards that you collect as you travel through the fair.
  4. Network, Network, Network
    Come away from the job fair with as many contacts as you can. The Carrington College Career Services Team suggests that you keep in mind that this doesn’t just mean the representatives and recruiters, either; anyone in line with you while you wait can become a valuable contact in the future. Exchange information and add contacts on LinkedIn to keep in touch

Following these four tips will give you a good head start on making a strong impression with company representatives as you visit a job fair. With tact, confidence, and presentation, you’ll find there are a lot of opportunities out there. Goodwill’s 27 Career Solutions Centers located throughout Middle and West Tennessee host a variety of job fairs each week. Take a look at the job fair calendar to find an opportunity near you.


Cindy’s Story

Blog_Post_Cindy2-215x215When Cindy came to Cookeville in 2003, she had reached an all-time low in her life. “I had lost my home, my family and my life as I had known it,” she said. “It was all because of my drug addiction.”

Cindy had spent the last 11 months in prison. As a condition of her early release, she was required to attend recovery meetings and live in a halfway house. “I called dozens, but a halfway house in Cookeville was the only one that would accept me,” she said. “So I hopped on a bus with a few possessions and $10 in my pocket.”

On the way to a meeting, Cindy stopped at the local Goodwill store. She didn’t buy anything, but she left with something of value: a brochure for Goodwill Career Solutions.

Cindy went to the Career Solutions center in Cookeville the very next day. “The career counselor went above and beyond to help me,” she said. “She knew I needed money immediately, so she found me a job where I could make tips.”

Weeks later, Cindy started a job as a processor at Goodwill. “Within a year, I had purchased a car, rented a home and moved my family here,” she said. “Shortly after that, I received a promotion.”

What started with a brochure 11 years ago has transpired into so much more. “Coming to Goodwill was one of the most important decisions I’ve made,” she said. “I love the people, and I enjoy my job.”

Cindy said Goodwill has provided her with more than a job. “Two years ago, we bought a house and made Cookeville our home,” she said. “Goodwill gave me the opportunity to do that.”

Watch Cindy’s Story:

Stephen’s Story

Blog_Post_Steven-215x215When Stephen started working at the Columbia Goodwill store in 2005, he was quiet and shy, but you’d never know it if you met him today. “Stephen never meets a stranger, and he never forgets a name,” said Becky Kelly, the manager at Goodwill’s Columbia store. “He goes out of his way to greet every shopper with a smile and a hello.”

Although Stephen works vigorously at his janitorial job by mopping the floors and cleaning the windows, it’s his contagious smile and positive attitude that really makes the store shine. “Stephen never has a bad day,” she said. “He is just a joy to be around. When he comes in to work with that smile on his face, it makes everyone around him happy.”

Making others happy is what Stephen does best, but it’s not the only quality that makes him stand out. “We can always count on Stephen,” said Kelly. “In nine years, he’s never missed a day of work.”

While Stephen enjoys what he does, he said the people are the best part about Goodwill. “Just because I’m different doesn’t mean you should treat me different,” he said. “I love the customers and they love me. My co-workers are like family.”

After nine years at Goodwill, Stephen can’t imagine working anywhere else. “Working for Goodwill is pretty awesome,” he said with a big smile on his face. “I love it here. It’s like heaven on earth.”

Watch Stephen’s Story:

Last Minute Ideas for Dad

Father’s Day, June 15

Father’s day is less than a week away. If you’re still searching for the perfect gift, here are some ideas that won’t break the bank.

Dad_FrameAre you looking for a cute and creative idea for dad? How about a custom Father’s Day photo print! How great would it be to recreate this idea each year to show how much the kids have grown and changed. Frames at Goodwill start at 99¢.


TiesWhy pay department store prices when you can purchase dad a designer tie at Goodwill for $1.99. You can find a wide variety of ties at the Goodwill store nearest you.




Does dad like to tee it up? You can score some great clubs at Goodwill. You can get a great driver, putter or sand wedge for as little as .99¢. A whole set of clubs starts at $12.99.



Not sure what to get? You can always purchase a Goodwill gift card from any of our 34 retail locations and let your dad pick out his own gift. Find your nearest Goodwill store.

Cindy’s Story

Blog_Post_Cindy-215x215In 2007, Cindy lost her husband. A year later, she lost her job. “It was a very difficult time,” she said.

Cindy had been out of work for a year and a half when she stopped by the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Jackson for help. Just a few months after enrolling in the program, Goodwill offered Cindy a job as a donation attendant at the Goodwill store in Humboldt where she worked for about a year until the store closed.

Before the store closed, Cindy’s district manager lined up an interview for her with Goodwill’s donations supervisor in West Tennessee. At the time, Brian Martin needed to fill a donation attendant position in Jackson.

On the day of the interview, Cindy’s car broke down, but she was determined to get there on time. “When the Medina police chief stopped to help Cindy, she talked him into driving her 15 miles to her interview in Jackson,” said Brian. “This is what sold me on her ability to get things done and overcome obstacles.”

Cindy said having a steady job at Goodwill for the last five years has allowed her to become independent. “I don’t have to depend on others to take care of me,” she said. “I can actually make a living for myself, which I couldn’t do before.”

The job has provided Cindy with more than a paycheck. “Working for Goodwill has raised my self-esteem,” she said. “I am now a confident person. I can walk around with my head held high.”

Watch Cindy’s Story:

A Successful Goodwill Week

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Goodwill Week is an opportunity each year to focus on matching our clients and other individuals with jobs throughout Middle and West Tennessee. Whereas we hold 50+ job fairs each month, Goodwill Week is an intensified opportunity to connect individuals with new businesses and more jobs.

This year, our 26 Career Solutions centers hosted 78 events designed to engage people in their communities. There were a variety of events including job fairs that featured more than 200 employers, job readiness workshops and community resource fairs.

Nearly 1,900 people attended those events. Fifty-nine job seekers were hired on the spot, highlighting our mission of providing employment and training to people who have disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.

By selling the gently-used items that you donate, Goodwill funds job training, placement programs and special events such as Goodwill Week.

Thank you for your continued support!