Goodwill Industries Opens New Career Academy Center in Holyoke

Goodwill Industries of the Pioneer Valley is pleased to announce the opening of a new Career Academy site at 231 South Street, Holyoke, which will be located within the current Goodwill retail location. An open house will take place on March 6 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., and will include, a tour, light refreshments and speakers ClairAnn Muddiman, Director of Workforce Development, and Lilliam Ortiz-Cruz, a former client and current manager of the new Holyoke Academy. Media and the public are welcome.

Goodwill is firmly rooted in the belief that work plays a powerful role in enhancing the quality of an individual’s life and that everyone has a right to enjoy the economic, psychological and social benefits that come from working. In that spirit, the Career Academy provides job skills training and support to community members of the Pioneer Valley.

The Academy teaches pre- and continuing employment skills, basic manufacturing, forklift operation, Serv Safe Certification, computer skills and English as a Second Language as well as workplace ethics and effective communication while emphasizing the importance of job performance. The Academy learns current workforce needs and understands how to prepare their clients for success. Upon completion of short- or long-term trainings, clients are transitioned into appropriate jobs in their fields of interest.

The Career Academy treats each client individually. “We do not look at diagnoses or constraints,” says Program Director, ClairAnn Muddiman. “We focus on the whole person, their needs, their talents and what they want their story to be.”

By forging partnerships with local employers and referral agencies, Goodwill’s Career Academy helps job seekers find local resources for supports in daily life such as obtaining free student uniforms, locating local food pantries, getting adequate child care and applying for emergency services when needed. Staff members also help clients with budgeting, stress reduction and obtaining work-appropriate clothing.

The new location will serve individuals seeking career services who live in Holyoke and rely on public transportation, which makes travel to the Springfield facility difficult. “We saw a need in Holyoke and we, in accordance with our mission and vision, decided to open the new Career Academy to assist the community. It is just that simple,” Muddiman said.

“Goodwill is here to strengthen community relationships, build opportunities for people to gain self-sufficiency and give people a supportive place to go to learn new skills, brush up on old ones, and most of all, to help them get the results they are looking for in order to obtain fulfillment,” she continued. “We believe in each person that walks through the doors and will work hard to assist them to reach their goals.”

The mission of Goodwill Industries of the Pioneer Valley is to create a better community through partnerships in employment, education and life enrichment. To learn more, visit


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