By Stacy Johnson
For more than 75 years, Deseret Industries and its logo with a picture of a honeybee have been synonymous with creating self-reliance.
Dan Holm, store manager for the Mesa Deseret Industries location, adds, “Deseret Industries is more than just a thrift store, we try to help the community by building self-reliance in individuals and providing low cost goods to the public in need.”
When there is a need for new employment or better employment, an individual can be referred to the training program at Deseret Industries through an LDS bishop. At the Mesa location, there are currently approximately 90 people in the program with 15 to 20 more on a waiting list.
Before entering the program, the associates are paired with a development counselor for an interview and initial assessment to determine the associates’ specific job skills and career interests as well as approve any schooling or certificate programs. After being accepted into the program, the associate is assigned a job coach, who works with each person to help them to set and achieve their goals. Part of that process includes attending a career workshop taught through the employment center. The development counselor handles any necessary communication with the bishop in regards to the associate’s training program.
Additionally, the bishop assigns a member of the ward to be a mentor as the associate goes through the training. The mentor can be a home teacher, visiting teacher or other member of the ward who will provide local support. The mentor, associate and development counselor meet quarterly to discuss goals, and in weekly meetings, a job coach assists the associate in meeting a set of industry standards that will assist them in today’s competitive job market.
The program includes on the job training as well as career guidance. Deseret Industries teams up with local businesses to create internship-type experiences that allow associates to further develop skills and confidence.
Another aspect of the program is technical skills training. The qualified associate can obtain scholarship money to attend specific programs, such as a basic nursing course, IT program or cosmetology training, for example.
Deseret Industries relies on donations from the general public—of clothing, used books, computers, in fact most any donations with the exception of cleaners, chemicals, food storage, weapons, mattresses and appliances.
The donations received not only create job experiences for those in the program but provide low-cost items for sale to the community as well as items used as part of humanitarian efforts worldwide.
In addition to the three Deseret Industries stores in Mesa, Phoenix and Tucson, there are stationary Deseret Industries donation pods around the valley to make donating easier. For access to those pods outside of scheduled pickups, contact your stake or ward welfare specialist for access. With the exception of the Tucson location, donations can be scheduled to be picked up by calling the store nearest you. Deseret Industries accepts donations that many think are not worth re-selling, such as rags and clothes with holes or stains. These items are recycled and proceeds benefit the cost of the training program.
Brother Holm says he hopes member will continue to “use Deseret Industries for donating when possible because of the blessings it provides to the training program … please donate what you can.”
For more about how you can benefit from Deseret Industries, visit DeseretIndustries.org.