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Progress

Newton Career Connection Center continues services

NHS senior Matt Bleakney, left, smiles during his interview with Bryan Bandstra, right, and Dennis Janssen 
of Key Cooperative. About 160 Newton High School seniors had the chance to get more familiar with the 
process of interviewing for a job in a unique mock interviewing event held in 2016 at the Newton DMACC 
Campus, coordinated by the Goodwill Career Connection Center.
NHS senior Matt Bleakney, left, smiles during his interview with Bryan Bandstra, right, and Dennis Janssen of Key Cooperative. About 160 Newton High School seniors had the chance to get more familiar with the process of interviewing for a job in a unique mock interviewing event held in 2016 at the Newton DMACC Campus, coordinated by the Goodwill Career Connection Center.

The Newton Career Connection Center has served the communities of Jasper County for three years. It offers free services for job-seekers, and its location is the result of a partnership between Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College.

Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa announced the promotion of Mary Beth Lawson as the new coordinator of its Newton Career Connection Center in July 2016. Lawson had worked as an employment specialist at the center since its inception in August 2014.

Since her promotion, Lawson said the last year at the career center has seen steady traffic and only continues to grow as people share the word what the career center has to offer.

“With the Goodwill Industries, sometimes there is a stigma by some people who think that the program is only for a certain type of person, but we see clients who are 14 to 84 years old,” Lawson said. “We see clients who are at all education levels, from a Ph.D. to no education.”

Lawson said the center assists with resumes, offers advice with interviews and conducts mock interviews. Lawson said the center has even contacted employers that individuals have applied at and given them a positive reference.

“We reach out and put in a good word, if we feel that individual has been very active in looking for a job and has been very contentious,” Lawson said.

When individuals receive positions, Lawson said the center touches base with them in 30 to 60 days to make sure the job is a right fit for them.

The career center is teaming up with DMACC as they visited the women’s correctional facility in Mitchellville in March. Lawson said this June career center employees will visit the Newton Correctional Facility to talk with inmates who are close to being released.

“We want to help them go out into the society prepared,” Lawson said.

In addition, the career center organizes mock interviews for high school students to participate in for their exit interview. Students are interviewed by a professional in the field that he or she is interested in pursuing.

“We try to make it as real as possible,” Lawson said. “It’s better to have a real life experience for these students, it’s also a great networking tool.”

The Goodwill Career Connection Center, Newton Development Corporation, the Iowa State Extension Office in Jasper County and DMACC teamed up to organize a job fair last month, featuring over 30 potential employers.

“It was a success,” Lawson said. “We saw the biggest attendance numbers yet — we had a lot of positive feedback from attendees and employers.”

The center offers computer training classes and workshops, ranging from basics to application of social media programs like LinkedIn.

The Center, at 600 N. Second Ave. W., Room 241, on the Newton DMACC campus, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and by appointment on Saturday. For more information, call 641-791-0424.

Contact Kayla Langmaid at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or klangmaid@newtondailynews.com

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