MIAMI -

Goodwill Industries on Thursday opened its new laundry plant near Miami's Liberty City neighborhood.

The state-of-the-art facility was built on a 3.6-acre site at 6201 NW 36th Avenue.

"Goodwill Industries is a business enterprise with a social mission," said Lourdes de la Mata-Little, the vice president of marketing.

"This area, Liberty City, has the highest unemployment rate in Miami-Dade County," added Board Chairman Joe Lacher. "Our commitment is to help address those issues and make this a strong and vibrant community."

The plant offers a starting wage of $9 an hour and other benefits.

Goodwill opens commercial laundry, creating jobs

"This is a new job for me. I have been out of work for over two years now and it has been hard for me to find a job," said Wayne Odom. "They give you a lot of benefits and opportunity for growth."

The plant will be able to handle 40 million pounds of laundry each year.

"There are over 225,000 unemployed [and] disabled people in the Dade and Broward County area. That is a 44 percent unemployment rate," said Lacher. "When we reach capacity, we will have at least 200 employees in this building, all with disabilities of some sort.

"All the revenue that we generate from our business divisions, we use that money to help train people, to help train and employ people with disabilities," said de la Mata-Little.

"It definitely has built confidence in me and I think I am going to do better definitely in life," added Odom.