Chipley center helps hundreds with jobs, self-esteem

Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 04:18 PM.

“We have employers who come to us first, because they know what kind of training we are giving our employees,” Richards said.

 Goodwill Industries – Big Bend also has contract services for janitorial and landscaping jobs that are manned by clients, 80 percent of whom are disabled. The contract program works through RESPECT, a Florida-based, Legislatively created program that allows governmental entities to purchase commodities and services they need while providing employment opportunities to Floridians with disabilities.

For Virginia Lee Sword, what Goodwill Industries – Big Bend was able to do was more than just find her a job.

“I came out of my shell,” Sword said. “At first, I was just showing up, but after a while, Miss CeCe really got to me.”

A little over a year ago, Sword was hired by Sam’s Club in Panama City Beach, where she currently works as a greeter. Richards says Sword is constantly being praised by her employers for her bubbly personality and work ethic.

“At first it was tough, I didn’t think I could stand and work for eight hours,” Sword said, “but over time I built up to it and now I can work no problem.” Sword is still undergoing rehabilitation for her respiratory and vocal ailments, but she no longer sits at home all day watching TV.

“My mother encouraged me to continue to come to Job Club, and if it wasn’t for Job Club and Miss CeCe, I don’t think I would be where I am today,” Sword said.

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