Goodwill Industries International has a rich history of more than 116 years. Dr. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister, founded Goodwill in 1902 in Boston, MA. Dr. Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired unemployed people to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold, and proceeds paid the workers’ wages and were invested in the development of job training programs. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of a hand up, not a hand out was born. Dr. Helms’ vision set an early course for what has become a $4 billion nonprofit organization with more than 170 autonomous member organizations worldwide.
Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, Inc. was founded in 1975 to serve individuals with disabilities and other special needs. In 1994, this organization conducted a community needs assessment to determine what new services Goodwill needed to develop in the mid-state area. In 1995, our agency opened its first Job Connection office in Macon, where anyone with a barrier to employment could receive career counseling and job placement assistance. Goodwill’s unique vocational services have helped tens of thousands of unemployed individuals discover and develop their God-given gifts and begin new careers.
In 1996, Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, Inc. expanded its territory into Augusta, Georgia and Aiken, South Carolina, increasing the number of service counties to 35 to become Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). There are three other Goodwill organizations headquartered in Georgia and two other agencies in South Carolina. Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA has been recognized with numerous international awards and is one of the fastest-growing Goodwill organizations in the world.
In response to concerns from the president of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, regarding meaningful skill training and education for individuals seeking employment, a concept was born to further fulfill the mission of the organization: to help people discover and develop their God-given gifts through education, work, and career development services. In July 2007, Helms College was established in Macon with the focus of creating an educational model for Goodwill Industries that provides skills training in the culinary arts, medical/health, automotive technology, construction, and other occupational areas that lead to meaningful jobs for individuals. Helms College opened a second campus in Augusta in October 2012 offering education in culinary arts at its School of Hospitality, and in January 2016 the Augusta campus began offering classes at its School of Health Services. Helms College currently offers Associate Degree and Diploma programs in culinary arts at its Macon and Augusta campuses, and health services programs for Patient Care Technician, Multi-Skilled Medical Assistant and Medical Administrative Assistant certification at the Augusta campus. Learn more at www.helms.edu