Originally created 01/26/03

Pocket change



EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT

GOODWILL INDUSTRIES

LOCATION: Operates thrift stores, donation centers and career centers at five locations in the Augusta-Aiken area.

SERVICE: Provides rehabilitation, training and job services for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

OWNER: Augusta-Aiken's Goodwill facilities are part of the Macon, Ga.-based Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, one of 210 independent Goodwill chapters worldwide.

EMPLOYEES: 230 local (approximate)

HISTORY: Goodwill was founded in 1902 as a quasi-religious charity organization. Changes to the nonprofit during the 1970s transformed it into a professional employment-services firm, which today is one of the world's largest employers of the disabled. The group creates jobs through its Emporium thrift stores and through outsource labor contracts it has with other employers, such as Fort Gordon and Monsanto Co. in Augusta.

The Augusta-Aiken area became part of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia territory in 1997. The name was later changed to incorporate the "CSRA." Since then, the organization claims to have brokered the employment of 2,800 people in the area, creating more than $50 million in new payroll purchasing power.

RECENT NEWS: Goodwill announced several weeks ago plans to build a $4.5 million career center in Richmond County. A location has not yet been determined.

Earlier this month, the organization announced the opening of its new retail store at 4072 Washington Road. The 15,000-square-foot Emporium replaces the store formerly located in the nearby Columbia Square shopping center.

BIZ TRIVIA

Wireless 100

One hundred years ago this month, a 28-year-old Italian inventor named Guglielmo Marconi sent the world's first wireless message: a 54-word greeting from President Theodore Roosevelt across the ocean to England's King Edward VII.

Today, the site in Wellfleet, Mass., is under water because of heavy erosion. The events of Jan. 18, 1903, are commemorated with a small monument high on the sandy bluff.

"Every time you dial your cell phone, every time you turn on the car radio and hear a reporter broadcasting live via satellite from Saudi Arabia - all of that was made possible by what Marconi did," says Maria Burks, superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore. "That's how far we've come in 100 years."

BIZ BITES

Silicon salaries

The average salary in Silicon Valley dropped 6 percent from early 2001 to mid-2002, and the nation's technology hub lost 9 percent of its jobs in the same period, a new study estimates.

Average pay in Silicon Valley in mid-2002 was $62,500 a year, after accounting for inflation, according to a survey released Monday by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, a San Jose nonprofit group formed to promote the region.

That's far above the nation's average pay of $38,400, but it's a steep drop from the peak of $79,800 in 2000.

Gotta have it

What's the most crucial belonging around your home? Your car? Cell phone? Hand-held computer?

In a survey of 1,042 adults and 400 teens, 42 percent of adults and 34 percent of teens ranked the toothbrush as more important to them than cars, microwaves, computers and cell phones. The car came in second.

In other data from the annual Lemelson-MIT Invention Index Survey, more than half (60 percent) of adults and 56 percent of teens said they expect a cure for cancer is possible in their lifetimes. And more than a third of adults, 35 percent, believe solar-powered cars will replace gasoline-burning ones.

The Lemelson-MIT Program fosters invention and innovation among youths.

What's in a name?

Corporate name changes plunged by 35 percent last year.

Worldwide, 2,346 firms changed names last year, down from 3,602 in 2001, according to an annual survey by Enterprise IG Inc., a New York brand and identity consultancy.

The moribund global economy gets part of the blame. The usual catalysts for new names - mergers and acquisitions, public stock offers, and new marketing campaigns - were all depressed last year.

You may have heard of some of the newcomers: Miller Brewing Co. became SABMiller, after its purchase by a South African brewer; SBC Communications Inc. replaced its regional brands such as Pacific Bell and Ameritech with the more succinct SBC; and one tiny Chinese burg seeking tourists got permission from the government to rename itself Shangri-La.

REACH US

Contact Business Editor Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or dcline@augustachronicle.com.