Partners for Opportunity

The coronavirus pandemic poses challenges to communities that we haven’t seen before. Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties (SF Goodwill) and Mercy Housing understand that partnerships are what matter most when things get tough. SF Goodwill’s mission is creating second chances through the power and dignity of work and the organization works to enhance people’s dignity and quality of life by strengthening their communities, eliminating their barriers to opportunity, and helping them reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. For so many, one of the biggest barriers is employment right now. But social distancing protocols have made traditional job fairs impossible.

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SF Goodwill reached out to Mercy Housing and together we hosted their first virtual job fair this March, called Virtual Employer Spotlights. Through word of mouth and community connections, job seekers participated in this innovative online job fair. It included a get-to-know conversation with Mercy Housing, an overview of the variety of available positions, as well as a Q&A.

One prospective job seeker, who is a veteran, has already been offered a position. Both SF Goodwill and Mercy Housing always strive to serve those that have served our country. Veterans are an integral part of communities and we’re always honored to support their dreams.

With all the difficulties that so many people are facing right now, hearing about job openings was a breath of fresh air. This was a powerful experience for both people looking for jobs and Mercy Housing alike — despite being online, it turned out to be a far more personable experience. There was more time for everyone to focus and get to know each other rather than the fleeting, quick introductions that are common at standard in-person job fairs.

Jobs keep families and communities happy. We thank SF Goodwill for all their hard work to keep communities strong.

Mercy Housing was SF Goodwill’s first choice to kick off the Virtual Employer Spotlight series “because of their culture,” says Minh SF Goodwill’s Career Center Specialist. “Mercy Housing shares our passion for alleviating barriers and challenges that some job seekers face. They understand communities and know how to engage with participants in a way that far exceeds anything else that we’ve seen. Mercy Housing truly cares about residents and staff, and the communities they serve.”

With everyone all over the world at home, many wifi networks are strained and dealing with the added stress of child care, elder care, and other issues all at the same time.  Following the event, SF Goodwill’s team reached out to those that registered for the event but didn’t attend, to offer information and resources to pursue a career with Mercy Housing, just in case they couldn’t attend the session due to unforeseen circumstances. The two organizations know that extraordinary times like these require special adaptability and compassion.

“This was really a team effort to figure out how to do this, because it was something we hadn’t ever done before. I have to say Mercy Housing has been such a great partner, they’ve been so willing and so flexible. This was a real de-stressor for SF Goodwill, working with them.” — Minh, Career Center Specialist, Goodwill

We offer a very special thanks to Henry Hoffmann, Goodwill’s Employer Engagement Specialist. He has done an incredible job connecting job-seekers with SF Goodwill and Mercy Housing. It’s people like him who keep communities vibrant and healthy even as we face difficulties.

Seeing the neighborhoods we care about face substantial challenges during the pandemic, keeps us looking for new ways to better serve those most in need. With a big demand for jobs, SF Goodwill is planning another Virtual Employer spotlight later this summer. Stay tuned!