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Morehead Goodwill Opportunity Center helping hundreds of locals one year after opening

Samantha Morrill

Earlier this month, the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky gave the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce an update on their work in the area.

The Morehead Goodwill Opportunity Center opened its doors just over a year ago and since then has helped 358 locals. Officials said the facility offers an array of services to help community members achieve stable employment and long-term success.

Amy Luttrell is the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. She said the facility has already successfully placed more than 214 people in jobs at Goodwill’s store and other local employers.

“We’re still growing. We just have our first year under our belt, and we’re expanding the center. In the next few months, we’ll have twice as much space as we have now, so we certainly want to continue to invite the community to come in and take advantage of what we have to offer,” said Luttrell.

Experts said these services are very important in eastern Kentucky, where unemployment is above the state average. In November 2023 Kentucky Unemployment Rate statistics, Rowan County measured at a 4.9% unemployment rate. Magoffin (8.4%), Lewis (7.2%), and Elliot (7.1%) counties lead the state in unemployment.

Along with career coaching and job placement, the Goodwill Opportunity Center offers financial classes, help with expungement for eligible offenses, digital skills education, and more for anyone in the community.

Luttrell said transportation is often one of the biggest barriers to employment, especially in rural regions, so they offer transportation assistance like the Cars To Work program, which provides people assistance in buying a car.

“They may have a bad credit rating, don’t have money for a downpayment. We have support to resolve those problems,” said Luttrell. “We also have Last Mile to Work for people who aren’t ready for the financial responsibility of a car. We give them a free bicycle and a helmet and some safety lessons.”

Luttrell said people do not need to be employees of Goodwill to take advantage of these services. Employees do gain access to extra benefits such as dental care, tuition reimbursement, and extra financial assistance for car down payments.

Twelve centers operate in nine communities across Kentucky. More information is available online at goodwillky.org.