Goodwill’s New Packaging Facility Opens in Coralville
Goodwill’s new packaging facility in Coralville, Iowa is now operational. The organization is expected to begin packaging soy vegetable oil in August through a contract with the USDA. While the USDA is Goodwill’s only customer right now, Goodwill has the potential to grow its liquid packaging operation over time to include additional federal contracts and other customers.
COVID-19 unfortunately prevented Goodwill from holding a large public event to mark this major milestone in the organization’s history. Goodwill did offer small group tours to a limited number of project partners, media, board members and staff in late June. Take a virtual tour with Plant Director Jon Olson by visiting Goodwill’s YouTube Channel at youtube.com/GoodwillHeartland
People may wonder why Goodwill, a retailer of used goods, is getting into the vegetable oil packaging business. Vice President of Operations Jess Schamberger is spearheading this new endeavor. She said, “Our stores exist to fund our mission, opportunities just like this one. In addition to retail experience, we have manufacturing experience too. We’ve been partnering with the local manufacturing sector for decades providing assembly and packaging services, which in turn creates training and employment opportunities. This new packaging facility is just one more way for us to create good paying jobs and skills training for people with barriers to independence.”
She added, “We want to be a leader in building Iowa’s talent pipeline by preparing people with transferable skills; skills needed for in-demand jobs in manufacturing. In doing so, we also support the hiring needs of our area manufacturers.”
Schamberger shared that this project makes sense for Iowa too. “We are supporting Iowa agriculture. The soy oil packaged by Goodwill is sourced locally. Iowa is already known for the role it plays in agriculture and feeding the world. Goodwill is proud to be a part of that; part of something that will also have significant humanitarian impact,” she said. Vegetable oil packaged at the Coralville facility through the USDA contract will be shipped around the world to aid hunger relief efforts.
This new USDA contract is one of six federal contracts managed by Goodwill of the Heartland. The other five contracts are custodial contracts at federal buildings. These federal contracts are only available to nonprofit agencies that create jobs for people with significant disabilities through a set-aside program called AbilityOne.
This article was originally published by Goodwill of the Heartland.