by Christian Morrow
Courier Staff Writer
While there are always “big names” in the media credited with continuing Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service to the community, there are countless other foot soldiers who work in relative anonymity to actually provide those services.
One of these is Reggie Good who supervises community programs for the Northshore Community Alliance. For six years he not only has managed the alliance’s food bank and recreational programs, but also become the agency’s primary workforce development expert, delivering clients the services, training, referrals and mentoring needed to improve their lives.
“We have a good process in place and it improves every year,” he said. “We’re placing around 150 people a year, now.”
Part of his and the alliance’s success has come from building relationships with employers like the Rivers Casino and Allegheny General Hospital, as well as knowing where to refer clients who need additional education or training.
“I see people with criminal records, people with degrees, but with all of them the key is ascertaining what is their first achievable goal,” he sad. “It’s more than just finding a job. It’s about do you have the skills and mental assets to keep this job. If they don’t, we make sure they get them.”
Good’s tenacity, energy and talent for building relationships with potential employers and service providers for his clients and NCA was such that when Mentors Consulting and Training President Kris Kirk had an opportunity to specifically address Pittsburgh’s “shameful” level of Black unemployment through a new Marcellus Shale training program, Good was the man she turned to for recruiting.
“When I was first having discussions about the classes with (state Rep.) Jake Wheatley, Reggie was referred to me by several people. And he’s been like an angel from heaven,” she said. “I couldn’t recruit on the street, which is where these guys are. Reggie can, and did. He knows everybody. We’ve placed 83 percent of them in these energy jobs. I can’t say enough about Reggie, working full time over at NCA, part time for me—and he’s going to school. His work ethic is amazing.”
Kirk said the next Marcellus training class begins Jan. 16 and another follows on Feb. 21.
Good said his work of helping people find careers has always been fulfilling, but the Marcellus program has been especially so.
“We have guys working on the rigs, building roads, cleaning tanks, all aspects of the industry and they come back to me and tell me their lives have been changed like they never thought possible,” he said. “That’s the most rewarding thing to know, I’ve had an impact. It’s rewarding to the soul.”
Wheatley said Good did so well producing “superstar” employees for shale industry, that energy companies are providing new funding to continue the program.
“He’s one of the guys you never hear about, but you should, who’s making a difference,” said Wheatley.
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