By Steve Svetovich
Kate Jones is a very proud lifelong resident of the Dunmore borough.
But the 1978 Dunmore High School graduate is just as proud of the work done at Goodwill Industries of Northeast PA (NEPA). nmoAnd she should be.
She is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Goodwill Industries of NEPA.
The Bloomsburg University sociology graduate has been married for 35 years to Jerry Jones. The couple has three sons: Jerry, 32, Tucker, 29, and Cory, 27. Jerry is married to the former Patti Kotchik of Dunmore and works in finance for Benco Dental. Tucker is an architect in Philadelphia. Cory is with the Single Corp stationed with the U.S. Army in Honolulu.
Jones is proud of her four grandchildren: Patrick, Aidan, Adeline and newborn Emilia, only two months old. Patrick, 12, and Aiden, 10, are students at Dunmore Elementary School.
Jones has been the CEO of Goodwill Industries of NEPA for the past five years.
Following her graduation from Bloomsburg, Jones started her working career as a mental health worker for The Friendship House, Scranton. She then went to work for a grant-funded program, the Private Providers Project, at Keystone College, Factoryville.
She continued to work at Keystone College in a variety of capacities, mostly development and educational, for 33 years before taking on the position of CEO at Goodwill Industries. Her last title at Keystone was director of special events.
As the CEO of Goodwill Industries, she covers 11 counties in Northeast Pennsylvania. “There is a tendency for it to be more expensive to do retail in rural counties,” she said.
“Goodwill also does behavioral support services as part of high school student transition plans. Our retail programs operate 12 group homes in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. We also work with intellectual and developmental disabilities of autistic adults,” Kate explains. “We also participate in a drug treatment force and re-entry program to help clients get job ready.”
Jones, hard-working and community-oriented, pointed out that Goodwill provides many services the public is not aware of. “As the CEO, all the departments report to me. It is not a huge non-profit, so I am involved with many of the day-to-day operations.”
Jones said Goodwill Industries received a grant from the Department of Labor and Industry to help individuals re-enter the community after an arrest or incarceration. “We work with these individuals on career readiness, resume writing, digital skills and what is needed for them to re enter the community in a positive manner.”
Jones said Wayne County recently appointed Goodwill Industries to do a pilot program. The Employment Services Program is a small workforce development program to help individuals overcome barriers and become employed. “That really is the reason we have our retail programs,” she said. “Buying donated goods through Goodwill translates into services. People don’t always make the connection there. Their donations help us to expand programs. We are in the business of helping people. Spreading the word of what Goodwill is all about helps us do that.”
Jones said Goodwill also owns and operates the Gerald T. Langan Residence and Senior Housing Facility which was originally North Scranton Junior High School. The facility provides lower income-based housing for senior citizens and was 22 years in the making, Jones said.
It is also the location of The Theatre at North, an 800-seat, state-of-the-art facility which provides musical entertainment, concerts, and other programs for the public. The facility was originally the site of the North Scranton Junior High School auditorium.
Jones said Goodwill Industries also has an E Commerce Division which is ShopGoodwill.com. “The public can shop online.” The main warehouse for Goodwill Industries of NEPA is located in Throop.
Goodwill Industries also has pre-vocational and small group employment programs. Eligible individuals are assigned to do work-related tasks in stores as part of these programs, said Jones.
Jones succeeded Gerald Langan as Goodwill Industries CEO of NEPA.