Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA opened a new facility in downtown Aiken, with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday. The newly renovated space on Pendleton Street will serve as a training center and donation drop-off point.

“What Goodwill does is provides lots of opportunities,” said J. David Jameson, President of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce. “We appreciate all they do in this region.”

Other Goodwill facilities in Aiken include a Job Connection career services center and a retail store on Pine Log Road.

Since opening in 2011, Goodwill’s Aiken campus has served 21,379 individuals and placed 4,497 into competitive employment.

Helms College, which is sponsored by Goodwill and has flagship campuses in Macon and Augusta, has an articulation agreement in place with Aiken County Public Schools. ACPS students receive Helms College coursework credit for completion of secondary-level culinary arts programs.

“Remember, a rising tide raises all ships,” noted Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon. “We see that success in our own city, and as someone who has a store here, welcome to the neighborhood.”

Helms College students served breakfast treats to the crowd which heard from Sandra Green, a native of Aiken who took advantage of services through the Job Connection to find employment with Aiken County Public School District.

James Stiff, president of Goodwill of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, welcomed guests and outlined Goodwill’s history in Aiken and plans for the new facility to serve the community as a convenient donation drop-off and educational and training space.

Before closing out the program, Jameson pointed to the Goodwill mission on the wall reading, “Building lives, families and communities one career at a time,” and added, “That’s what makes it a great day for business in Aiken.”

The donation and education center is located at 116-A Pendleton Street SW and will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.