How do you eliminate poverty? The first step is to get people not just jobs, but good jobs, said the new president and CEO of Goodwill of South Mississippi.
Richmond Vincent Jr. worked for Goodwill Industries International in Phoenix for seven years before being named head of the nonprofit’s Coast branch.
In Phoenix, he was part of an organization that oversaw 100,000 residents. As director of workforce development, he said Goodwill helped 44,000 residents get jobs.
Less than two weeks on the South Mississippi job and still unacquainted with a good shrimp po-boy, Vincent said he has an ambitious set of goals.
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“Our ultimate goal is to eliminate poverty,” he said. “We know it may take some time to get there, but that’s our goal.”
Just like in Phoenix, he said it begins by helping residents get jobs.
“Most of the public is familiar with the Goodwill stores, but educating the community about the work we do is something we want to do also,” Vincent said.
“We put people to work. That’s what we’re all about. That’s the one main thing I think people should know about the Goodwill.”
Vincent will help oversee Goodwill’s Leroy Modenbach Training Center, which offers classes in adult education. Residents are taught how to write a résumé, how to dress for an interview, interview techniques and how to hold a job. They’re also taught basic computer skills.
As a nonprofit, all Goodwill’s revenue comes from store sales. The Coast Goodwill branch has 12 stores and close to 300 employees.
“We don’t have any shareholders,” he said.” All the money stays here. We’re not dependent upon the government, so that eliminates a lot of headaches.”
Having just taken the South Mississippi job, Vincent said his immediate goals are to continue the “great work” already done here and to be become “fully integrated” in the community.