Goodwill's Helms College to open in October

Jim Stiff, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, wants Helms College to serve as a model for Goodwill colleges nationwide.

Goodwill Industries is on track with construction of a new college campus, restaurant and conference center on Furys Ferry Road and plans to open its doors to students in October.


Goodwill has changed the name of the school from Helms Career Institute to Helms College after receiving state license approval in May for three associate degree programs, said Jim Stiff, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA.

The $12 million construction project is the second phase at the location. The 10-acre campus is the second school for Goodwill, modeled after a similar one in Macon, he said.

“The largest campus that we think has the most potential for growth is the campus here in Augusta,” Stiff said.

Helms College will offer classes in hospitality, health care, horticulture and other subjects, based on recommendations from the Uni­versity of Georgia’s Fanning Institute. Initially, the school will offer classes in culinary arts, food and beverage management and environmental services, Stiff said.

The Fanning Institute is conducting a six-month feasibility study by interviewing 50 of the largest employers in the territory to determine the midlevel skills that are deemed most valuable for 2016 and beyond.

“We’re trying to move from helping people get their first job to gain middle skills that lead to a middle class, fuller achievement of the American dream,” he said.

The college will be completed by Aug. 1, and classes will begin the second week in October.

Stiff estimates that the conference center and restaurant will open in January. The conference center will have a seating capacity of 250.

Edgars, a Mediterranean restaurant, will seat more than 100. The campus will also have
an outside dining area, chapel and museum.

“We run those as businesses that are very professional and excellent venues for the public to come and enjoy, but we make it so that the students, when it’s appropriate and they’re ready in their training, can go to those venues and have applied learning experiences,” Stiff said.

Goodwill officials from across the country will visit the campus in February, Stiff said.

“We believe this model can be taken from Augusta throughout North America and beyond,” he said.


To apply to Helms College on Furys Ferry Road, visit