Colorado

Apr 19, 2010 9:53 PM by Matt Stafford

Working for more than a paycheck

A program unique to Colorado Springs is getting people into jobs, more than 4,000 last year alone. Goodwill of Colorado Springs is one of the first chapters in the country to work with the Department of Human Services to get people using public assistance, like welfare, into jobs.

In 2009 Goodwill employees in Colorado Springs say they helped 4,300 find jobs.

Danny Switzer was given a job at a garden center on Colorado Springs nearly 15 years ago through the same program. To work for 15 years, you have to love what you do.

"I like flowers," says Switzer.

"Depending on what they're looking for and what we can find out in the community, there's a wide range of jobs available," explains Laura Marth, assistant director for public relations in Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs.

For Switzer, working at a garden is a great fit.

"I love dirty work," Switzer exclaims.

"He likes to get dirty, he likes to show that he's been working," says Mike Estes, owner of Rick's Garden Center.

Switzer shows off that he's been working hard on this day.

"My shirt is dirty," Switzer says.

At the end of the day his boss can see why.

"That tile is clean, the trash cans are empty, the place is looking good," Estes says.

However, cleaning may not be Switzer's biggest strength, as this reporter found out quickly; Switzer is a bit of a talker.

"It never ceases to amaze me how many people know him," Estes says, but he thinks it probably helps with sales. "He must know thousands of people, you know it just seems that way."

Estes says it would be hard to replace Switzer. By now, Switzer has his job down to an art, but being a good co-worker is a skill Switzer never had to work on.

"It was a fit from day one," Estes says. "He's more than just an employee."

For Switzer, this is more than just a job.

For more information on the work programs at Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs contact their offices, (719) 635-4483. There's also information in their website, you can get to it by clicking here.

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