Goodwill Graduates Stand Out In Savannah Tourism Industry

SAVANNAH, GA- In the hostess city, tourism and hospitality is one of the dominant industries.  This vital sector is growing every year, with visitor-spending reaching a staggering $1.67 billion in 2017.  Combined with the incredible opportunities for upward mobility and career development, it is no surprise that Goodwill’s training program (Hospitality Works!) has been so popular. 

 This week, Goodwill hospitality trainer Gloria Johnson was recognized by the Savannah Tourism Leadership Council’s for her passion for the hospitality industry.  Goodwill Southeast Georgia is proud of the dedication and commitment that Gloria demonstrates to her students, as well as the wealth of experience she brings to her role.  “Goodwill is proud of the results Gloria has achieved as the leader of our Goodwill Hospitality training program.”  states Tammie Blaha, Goodwill Chief People Officer.  “100% of the participants in her program have received certification by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.“ 

 “The best part of being a trainer with Goodwill is getting to share my knowledge with students, it really feels great.  A lot of them come in not knowing what to expect, not knowing much about Savannah, some of them not even really liking Savannah.  I love that I get to show them another side to the city and new opportunities.  I get to bring the class to life.”- Gloria Johnson.

 Michael Bayird, who will be graduating along with the first class of 2018 on March 2nd, is a wonderful example of a student who has been impacted by Gloria and Goodwill’s training services.  After being referred to the class a few days into the program, his determination to be a student inspired Gloria to catch him up to the few days of class he had missed and get to know him better. She learned that Michael had moved to Savannah a few months before and was struggling to establish himself in a new home

 Michael was committed to doing well and his dedication with additional support from Goodwill culminated in an interview with The Mansion on Forsyth Park where he was hired.  Michael has also been recognized as the class’s most dedicated student, never being late or missing a class, while still walking 1 hour 20 minutes each way for every session.

 “Goodwill’s hospitality program gave me the knowledge base I needed to feel confident going in for the interview.  I love working with a diverse and positive team.  I feel lucky to work in such a beautiful and inspiring environment”
-Michael Bayird on starting his new role.

 Goodwill’s Hospitality Works! is a free 6-week program that combines the AH&LA certification curriculum with learning and networking events with leading local hospitality industry brands.  The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), is a premier source for delivering quality hospitality education, training and professional certification that serves the needs of hospitality schools and industries worldwide. The next class begins March 14.  For more information and to find out how to enroll, call 912-436-6217



Goodwill of the Coastal Empire Inc., DBA Goodwill Southeast Georgia, is a highly diversified 501© (3) social enterprise that funds job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items.  Goodwill Southeast Georgia operates 17 stores and 4 Career Centers in 33 Georgia and South Carolina counties.  Goodwill also builds revenue and creates jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services including custodial, grounds keeping, staffing services, packaging and assembly and fabrication.  For more information on Goodwill of the Coastal Empire, please visit  Find us on Facebook at Goodwill Southeast Georgia follow us on Twitter at @GoodwillSEGA.


Anna Raby
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
Goodwill Southeast Georgia


Cynthia Barnes
Vice President, Community Engagement
Goodwill Southeast Georgia