David Wells is a Bright Light on the path to employment with Alabama Goodwill Industries

David Wells is a Bright Light on the path to employment with Alabama Goodwill Industries
At Alabama Goodwill Industries, David Wells provides opportunities for people who have barriers to employment because of disability, illiteracy, past mistakes and other difficult circumstances. (Karim Shamsi-Basha/Alabama NewsCenter)

Many people know that Goodwill Industries is a good place to shop and find great deals on clothing, furniture and a host of other items.

What people may not be aware of is this: Goodwill Industries is an effective company for people who may not have many opportunities to find work, and for helping them get on the right track of life. This nurturing of people has been taking place for nearly a century.

“Alabama Goodwill Industries has been around since 1927. Our mission is to essentially create jobs for those with barriers to employment,” President David Wells said. “We bring them in and provide development to help those overcome their barriers to become self sufficient and successful members of the community.”

Alabama Goodwill Industries knocks down barriers keeping job-seekers from work from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The nonprofit and member of Goodwill Industries International Inc. is undergoing a major renovation project that began four months ago. The Alabama Goodwill Industries building, which was built in 1984, is being updated. It will feature a drive-through for donations with a covered area in the front.

“We want to make it as convenient as possible for donors to drop off their donations,” Wells said. “In the past, you had to drive to the side and get out of your car.”

Alabama Goodwill Industries helps many people with barriers to employment find work and keep it, transforming their lives and allowing them to be productive members of society.

“Barriers to employment could be anything from people with disabilities, people that can’t read or write, maybe can’t speak English, single parents, people who have recently been released from incarceration,” Wells said. “These are really good people. They’ve just made mistakes and are trying to get back into the workforce to become a productive member of the community.”

Alabama Goodwill Industries partners with a number of community organizations that refer people looking for employment. Wells considers his position with Alabama Goodwill Industries key to being someone who works toward transforming lives.

“What makes me feel good about the work that I do is that I’m working to help people. Along with our staff and all of our volunteers we are all working to help others. You hear the old Goodwill slogans of being a ‘hand up,’ not a ‘hand out.’ It’s not ‘charity,’ but a ‘chance.’ Helping our team members do that is a fantastic experience,” Wells said.

Next time you root through your closet for that perfect outfit, take a few gently used items to Alabama Goodwill Industries. You will be helping many people.

Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at [email protected].

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