CHARLOTTE — On Wednesday morning, Denise Sutter stood in the middle of a newly transformed classroom at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont’s Leon Levine Opportunity Center, where she greeted a group of visitors and told them how a formerly nondescript space had been revamped.
She pointed to brightly colored carpet and easily movable furniture, pods of gathering spots, readily available floor outlets to charge electronics and built-in technology to allow easy, reliable connections for virtual guests and participants.
“Some of (the features) seem insignificant but they’re actually quite significant when it comes to creating an effective and engaging learning environment, where the learning sticks,” she said. “Because that’s what it’s about, if the learning sticks, they’re going to be able to get those family-sustaining-wage jobs.”
Sutter is director of the education programs at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, presiding over 14 programs in customer service, information technology and essential skills. One thousand people completed courses in those programs last year; 7,700 people advanced their careers through Goodwill in 2022, according to the organization.
This week, Goodwill completed a $1.7 million facelift at the Opportunity Center, a 160,000-square-foot job- and life-skills campus opened in 2016. The makeover covers 70,000 square feet: all the classrooms, offices, meeting rooms and hallways within the career and employment center.
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