Lithonia-based Universal Steel was founded in 1970 and has made its home in Lithonia, Georgia for more than 50 years. In January 2020, the company was looking to expand its team, and HR Manager Vicki Jackson recalls that a colleague mentioned Goodwill’s work with welders.
Vicki was connected to Quasandria Turner, regional manager of workforce development. The two women quickly determined that a fruitful partnership was possible. Universal Steel could be a good internship site for participants in Goodwill’s welding program, and by serving as an internship site, Universal Steel would have access to a pool of potential employees who were essentially interviewing on the job.
While many businesses slowed down during the pandemic, the construction industry was not affected. The fact that Goodwill continued offering training programs during this challenging time proved to be very valuable for Universal Steel. Vicki says that everyone at Goodwill is a pleasure to work with and she is moved by the kindness demonstrated by members of the Goodwill team.
To date, Universal Steel has hosted 13 interns and has hired two graduates of Goodwill’s welding program. Quasandria enthuses, “Universal Steel is an excellent employer partner for our welding program. They develop our participants into truly capable and marketable candidates for competitive employment.” Additionally, Universal Steel has assisted with connecting our participants to their sister locations and has also paid Goodwill training wages to extend the internship period for participants that need more time to practice their skills.
With the strong foundation that has been developed in a very challenging year, Goodwill and Universal Steel are looking forward to growing this partnership in the years to come. In recognition of their efforts in 2020, Goodwill is pleased to present Universal Steel with the 2021 Emerging Partner of the Year award.