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      Goodwill store offers job-seekers new opportunities

      The economic crisis in this state has crippled many companies, leaving people struggling to pay the bills. The latest unemployment numbers are at historic highs.

      The October jobless rate hitting a record high. 12.1% of the people in this state are out of work, that is 262,956 South Carolinians.

      Here in the Midlands one group is hoping to get them back on track.

      A month ago Nathaniel Singletary joined the growing number of South Carolinians hunting for work, when he was laid off from his warehouse job.

      On Friday Goodwill launched it's new Job Connection Center off Garners Ferry Road. Melanie Gearhart says the facility offers a wide range of resources; but most importantly it offers encouragement.

      "We want to be a center for hope," said Gearhart. "We want to reassure people that they have skills, and that there are jobs out there."

      "They come to check on me and it makes you feel good about yourself," said Singletary. "And like I said, they have great jobs and opportunities."

      Job-seekers like Singletary say they are ready to go through that door of opportunity. Store officials say the Goodwill is more than just the stores name, it's also their mission.

      This year Goodwill job centers throughout the Upstate and Midlands were able to find work for nearly 3,000 people. The center is hoping to have an even greater impact in the coming year.

      "We feel like we do serve a dual customer here," said Gearhart. "We serve the job-seekers, but we couldn't help the job-seekers if we didn't have good relationships with employers in the area."

      It's a vital resource Singletary is excited to tap into.

      "They will help you out every step of the way... so you can't ask for more than that."

      And best of all, the services offered at Goodwill are free of charge.