News Column

Goodwill Employee Honored for Work With Hispanic Community

Jun 24 2013 3:12PM

A local Goodwill Industries employee was recognized Sunday for her efforts in targeting career services to the Hispanic population.

Elsa Bustamante, Hispanic services manager at Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, received the Edgar J. Helms Award for Staff at a Goodwill Industries International annual Delegate Assembly meeting. Bustamante has been with the nonprofit organization for a decade.

Bustamante, who is both bilingual and bicultural, is a trained instructor in English as a Second Language who formed Hispanic councils at the Augusta and Macon offices. The councils are a way for Hispanic-serving organizations to network and brainstorm ideas to better serve the community.

Goodwill's Middle Georgia and CSRA centers have grown from serving just a handful of Hispanic clients in 2009 to more than 1,800 in 2012.

"It's amazing what I have seen," Bustamante was quoted as saying in a May Goodwill article about Hispanic services in Georgia. "Before it was, 'Who is Goodwill?' Now, we see a trusting community because we are providing them with a lot of these skills, and we are listening to them."

As Hispanic services manager, Bustamante also implements outreach and marketing plans to recruit Hispanic job-seekers in a 35-county area, providing them with skills training, resume assistance and other career programs.

Bustamante coordinates service deliveries with other agencies serving the Hispanic community and organized the inaugural Hispanic Diversity Career Fair in 2012.

Goodwill Industries International President and CEO Jim Gibbons likened Bustamante's qualities to those of Goodwill founder Edgar J. Helms by offering "people a hand up, not a handout."

"As the face of Goodwill, Elsa has worked tirelessly to earn the trust of the Hispanic community and to spread the word about Goodwill's mission," he said.

The award is given to a current Goodwill employee who hasn't received Goodwill services in the past.


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Source: Copyright Augusta Chronicle (GA) 2013

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