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Outsourcing to Build DSM USA Workforce

Goodwill of DSM USA

August 21, 2019

In my role as Director of Commercial Services for Goodwill of Central Iowa, I have the good fortune to talk with many businesses each week. In this period of low unemployment, I see many companies struggling to attain and retain full staffs. This is driving many companies to think about what work needs to be done directly by employees and what can be outsourced. 

Outsourcing can have the reputation of being more expensive or less efficient than doing work in-house. Some companies do everything they can to limit or eliminate outsourcing. But what if outsourcing work also helped build Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) workforce? What if partnering with a nonprofit to get needed work done also changed lives?

A Valuable Mission

Goodwill’s primary mission is to help people with barriers to employment learn skills that will help them get jobs. Our three primary skills programs — Retail, Foodservice and Warehouse, Packaging and Logistics — provide training for our program participants so they can earn jobs in the community. 

As part of our training programs, Goodwill takes on real projects from our business partners. Program participants and graduates work on these projects, gaining valuable work experience and the opportunity to receive coaching on hard and soft skills.

Goodwill’s food service program participants help cater events. Our warehouse, packaging and logistics trainees do kit packing, light assembly, recycling, collating, packaging, re-packing and fulfillment.

Partnering with Techniplas

Techniplas in Ankeny is a good example of what a partnership like this can look like.  Techniplas manufactures components and modules primarily for the transportation, power grid, electrical and medical industries.

Goodwill assembles a sub-component of one Techniplas product. It's a simple task — seating a gasket on a valve screw — but by moving this work off their line and to Goodwill in Johnston, they have reliable supply of this sub assembly and have been able to reduce the number of people needed for one of their assemblies.

Techniplas was able to focus their workforce on the highest value processes, while Goodwill’s program participants gained valuable on-the-job experience and coaching. Win-win.

Techniplas is now exploring a partnership with Goodwill to create an on-site training program in which Goodwill’s program participants work, shadow and train with the support of Goodwill’s job trainers. The goal to is to get work done AND create a pipeline to hire candidates who are ready to contribute.

Don’t let outsourcing become a bad word in your business. Outsourcing can make your team more efficient and focus employees against the tasks that are most critical to your success. In the case of outsourcing to nonprofits, your off-site work can help to build the local workforce and change lives.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internshipa jobdevelop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.