LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Goodwill Southern California is looking to hire more than 150 people in the Southland.

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Goodwill was founded in Boston in 1902 by Reverend Edgar J. Helms, a minister who collected goods and clothing from the wealthy and hired the poor to repair them.

In 1916, Katherine B. Higgins started Goodwill Industries of Southern California in Los Angeles. Today, Goodwill Southern California has 73 retail stores and 44 donation centers, and employs 2,700 people.

Before the launch of the new Pasadena Goodwill store nine months ago, employee Lynne Ferris was unemployed for a year and a half.

“My friend’s store, she’d been in business for 34 years,” said Ferris. “I managed her store for 11, and due to the economy she had to close.”

Despite the discouragement of being turned down at job interviews, Ferris didn’t give up. She attended a Goodwill job fair, where she highlighted her retail experience and was hired as a sales associate.

“I know retail, I love fashion, I’ve been in fashion my whole life,” said Ferris, who had also shopped at Goodwill’s retail stores. “And I love working with people.”

In addition to its 150 current job openings, Goodwill’s mission is to help Southern Californians find work.

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“Every time you shop with us, 92 percent of our budget is dedicated to funding no-cost employment programs and services, including training, education, and on-the-job skills for individuals with disabilities and disadvantages throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino,” said Sasha Itzikman with Goodwill Southern California.

Winn Narh is a job developer at the Goodwill Metro North Worksource Center in Los Angeles, where he matches job seekers with employers looking to hire.

“When someone tells me that I’ve worked with that they got a job, it’s probably the most amazing moment for me,” said Narh, who said he is currently working with employers like Stamps.com, Radio Shack and Vons.

The Goodwill Metro North Worksource Center offers access to computers and computer skills training, and helps visitors build their resumes and interview skills.

Maydell Braggs came from East Los Angeles to update her resume.

“I say, ‘Get up, come, get the help that you need,'” said Braggs. “It’s available, it’s here, and the service is free.”

For more information on jobs with Goodwill Southern California, visit its website.

For information on job opportunities with Goodwill of Orange County, visit its website.

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