Goodwill Transforms Delivery of Job Services

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Series of events planned for opening of Milgard Work Opportunity Center in Tacoma

The Milgard Work Opportunity Center represents a milestone for Goodwill, a chance to create opportunities to change lives and help more people

Goodwill this month will open its Milgard Work Opportunity Center, providing new and innovative approaches to the way people receive job training and placement services across the region.

A public dedication will take place Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. at the center, 714 S. 27th St. in Tacoma. Gov. Chris Gregoire is scheduled to attend. Other events are also planned.

"The Milgard Work Opportunity Center will transform the delivery of job training and placement services with new, expanded approaches to changing lives for people with disabilities or disadvantages across our region," said Bob Bruback, Board of Directors president for Tacoma Goodwill. "We are a regional job-service agency helping people in a third of the state."

Among the features of the 63,000-square-foot, four-story building includes:

REACH, a new partnership of about a dozen agencies and educational institutions in our community that will focus on at-risk youth. Goodwill is covering the facility cost of having partner agency staff on hand for this one-stop approach to counseling and training completely new for the area.

Distance Learning Theater, which expands training regionally. A partnership with Tacoma Community College has already started on a "Career Pipeline" for the theater. The program will provide training in warehouse and logistics to people in Tacoma, Longview and Yakima.

Five times the existing classroom space for new and expanded programs. Among the programs: an Adaptive Computer Lab for people with disabilities; a new culinary arts program providing food in the Neighborhood Bistro and The Good Buzz, a coffee bar serving Starbucks products; and other job retention and career enhancement programs. A playcare space is also available for adults who need a place for their children while taking classes.

"The Milgard Work Opportunity Center represents a milestone for Goodwill, a chance to create opportunities to change lives and help more people," said Terry A. Hayes, CEO. "Goodwill has always been an asset to the community and the new center offers more ways for us to fulfill our mission and help people get jobs."

The $20 million Milgard facility is a LEED Gold-qualified "green" building that supports Goodwill's efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. The investment will save on water and energy and promote public transportation, Hayes said.

Tacoma Goodwill was founded in 1921. When it opened its current building in 1965, the agency had three retail stores and served 500 participants. This year, Goodwill will help more than 6,000 people and operates 22 retail stores, with more scheduled to open.

Among the events scheduled in preparation for the Sept. 23 public dedication:

Sept. 9, 11 a.m. - Chef Jeff Henderson will work with culinary arts program participants as they prepare hors d'oeuvres for an invitation-only event celebrating the capital campaign's raising more than $12 million for the project. Chef Jeff is the former executive chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, author of The New York Times bestseller, "Cooked," and who starred in his own show on The Food Network. He spoke at Goodwill's annual fundraising breakfast in 2008.

Sept. 10, 5 p.m. - The Southwest Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects will feature Patrick Blanc, renowned artist in the construction of vertical gardens. The event will take place at the Washington State History Musuem, 1911 Pacific Ave. Tacoma Goodwill is an event sponsor for Blanc, who has created a living wall at the REACH entrance of the Milgard center.

"For someone who doesn't know Blanc, it might be fair to say here is someone doing something with plants that Dale Chihuly did with glass," said Bob Katica, a principal with architects BCRA and former AIA chapter president. "This is a new, out-of-the-box idea about art. It's about possibilities and opportunities like Goodwill."

Admission is free but seating is limited. For information, contact Clare Hardesty at, or phone 253.627.4367. There will be an opportunity to meet Blanc at 10 a.m. the same day when he visits Goodwill.

About Tacoma Goodwill
Goodwill is a unique nonprofit business. It turns donations and business revenue into programs that change lives by helping people with disabilities or disadvantages go to work. This year, Tacoma Goodwill Industries will help more than 5,000 people with education, job training and placement so they can become independent self-supporting citizens. Of these, 1,500 people with barriers to employment will be placed in jobs in the community. Job-training services are funded through financial gifts, grants, fees, commercial services and the operation of 22 thrift stores throughout Western and Southcentral Washington. Please visit our Web site at


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