Goodwill begins second phase of Helms Career Institute project in Martinez

Shoppers at Goodwill’s Furys Ferry Road facility will have to put up with some construction mess for the next few months, but president and CEO James Stiff says the payoff to the community will be worth it.

“We’re tearing down to build something better,” he said.

Goodwill Industries on Friday morning started the second phase of its Helms Career Institute, a $12 million project to build a career training college, culinary school, casual restaurant and conference center. The school will be fully accredited, the first of its kind for Goodwills in the U.S.

“The excitement is that we’re finally ready to take Goodwill to the next level, not only in Augusta but on the national level as well,” Stiff said.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Augusta Tomorrow Vice President Richard Fairey said the Helms Career Institute is one example of the impact Goodwill has had on the area.

“Goodwill has started to fill a void in our community,” he said. “This is an effort worth investing in.”

The project is still $1 million shy of its goal, and the number of teaching kitchens that the culinary school is equipped with will depend on how much of that money is able to be raised by the time classes begin this fall.

“Our goal is to stimulate the local economy by spurring people on to meaningful careers,” Stiff said. “We are a human and economic development engine.”

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