Nic Lawson and Beverly Harrell
When Nic and Beverly, boyfriend and girlfriend, first came to the Goodwill Marianna Career Training Center (CTC) they were both unemployed and hadn’t completed high school. Nic’s Mom, Aprille Lawson, is an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Goodwill Marianna CTC so Nic and Beverly had witnessed the positive outcomes of others who attended Goodwill CTC programs.
While attending the Marianna CTC, Nic and Beverly attended Job Club, received assistance with job searches, developed a resume and cover letter, attended training activities, and studied for the GED.
“I was at risk of not graduating due to not having enough credits because I had too many absences due to medical reasons,” said Nic. “Goodwill helped me study and prepared me to take the GED. With their help, I scored a 760 on my reading segment, above 500 on all the rest, and I have received my High School Diploma. I am very thankful for all the help the Goodwill Career Training Center has given me.”
“The Goodwill Career Training Center has helped my get on my feet,” said Beverly. “I had just moved out of my parent’s house, and needed to finish my High School education and find a job. Goodwill helped me in both aspects. Thanks to Goodwill, I now have my High School Diploma and am now a waitress/salesperson at Waffle House. I am very grateful; I could not have done it on my own.”
Due to a work injury, Mike had been unemployed for 2 and half years. Mike was a brick layer by trade. He realized to find a different kind of job to support himself and his family he needed to gain computer skills and to go back to school to earn his GED.
Since starting at the Valparaiso CTC, Mike has completed trainings in Windows XP, Word, Excel and PowerPoint in record time. During this time he started studying for his GED test. Mike was commitmented, he came into the CTC five days a week for 4-5 hours a day. Mike’s studying and preparation paid off when he took the GED and passed in April.
While Mike was working on his training modules and studying for his GED, he was referred to a job at the Valparaiso Goodwill store as a Donation Attendant. Mike was employed full-time at Goodwill in February 2012 and is enjoying his position as Donation Attendant.
Goodwill’s has an Earn While You Learn program, which pays full-time employees up to three hours a week to take classes and trainings offered in Goodwill’s Career Training Centers. This allows Mike, and other employees, to work full-time while working towards his goals of learning and gaining additional training to help get a higher paying job to support his family. Recently, Mike started the Goodwill QuickBooks training module and we are confident he will complete that as well.
Now that he has completed his GED, Mike plans to enroll in college to earn a degree in project management. Way to go Mike, keep up the good work!
James Linch came to Goodwill seeking computer training and job placement assistance. James was referred to Goodwill’s Human Services Department through one of our community partners to improve his employment opportunities and computer skills. He was facing several barriers, including being unemployed.
James has since worked his way through all available computer trainings offered at Goodwill such as: Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. After his completion of the computer training program James began assisting as a volunteer at the Mabry CTC. He has been a true asset to the CTC as he continues to give his time in helping other students learn computer skills.
James has enrolled in courses at Lively Technical Center and is working to earn a certification in computer systems technology. James has also signed up as an AmeriCorps member with Goodwill. He is now focused on finishing his computer certification and has attributed his interest in computer systems technology directly to his training at Goodwill. All of the services James has received were available to him through Goodwill, paid for by the donations received and sold in our retail stores. But the reason for his success was his drive and determination to invest the time and effort necessary to achieve his goals.
After he is finishes earning his computer certification James plans to use Goodwill’s employment services to find a job in his chosen field. He enjoys his time serving at the Mabry CTC and expects to finish school within a year. Goodwill is thankful to have James serve as an AmeriCorps member and will continue to work with James and assist him to achieve his life’s goals. James Linch is a success story that continues to write itself thanks to his efforts and all the staff at Goodwill.
Amanda Jones was in a difficult situation when she was first introduced to Goodwill’s Human Services department. She was referred to Goodwill by one of our community partners to improve her employment opportunities. Amanda was facing several barriers, including a dependent-living situation and chronic unemployment.
Amanda found new energy and goals through the help of Goodwill services Amanda was an avid participant with her Placement Services case manager, Stephen Burnett, and as a result completed six separate trainings in less than two months. She regularly attended weekly job club workshops and completed training modules in computer skills and office skills. In doing this, she learned to prepare an outstanding resume, network efficiently, and how to have excellent phone customer service etiquette. All of these services were available to her at Goodwill, paid for by the donations received and sold in our retail stores. The reason for her success was her willingness to invest the time and effort into overcoming her distressful situation and becoming self-sufficient.
Before Christmas, Amanda gained full-time employment as a receptionist in the administration office of a local restaurant. She reports loving her job and the value it brings, financially and personally. She is saving money and expects to be living independently by April.
Crystal came to Goodwill Industries- Big Bend, Inc.’s Career Training Center in Thomasville, GA in 2009 as a 24 year old with multiple barriers to employment. She was a resident of Goodwill’s Thomasville GIBB Village and received additional assistance from other local agencies that help people with disabilities. Crystal has Cerebral Palsy; and a driving ambition to support herself. She came to Goodwill’s Career Training Center with the goal of getting a job. Her assets included a supportive family and a determined attitude.
Initially Goodwill assessed Crystal’s abilities and possible career matches by providing her the opportunity to participate in the Transitional Work Experience program. Her first job task was to sort shoes and prepare them for sale. She learned quickly and took her responsibilities very seriously. Other Goodwill staff members also learned quickly the characteristics of Cerebral Palsy which include, instability in movement and a heightened awareness of and response to sudden sounds. As staff learned of these characteristics they became watchful of their own behavior. Crystal was very resistant to receiving special treatment, despite people’s understandable desire to protect her, and insisted on dealing with her responsibilities and situation herself.
Crystal’s goal was to work in a clerical position. A local assisted living facility allowed Crystal to volunteer to help her gain experience in filing and using the switchboard. She volunteered there for many months and was eventually offered a part time position, which she continues to this day. Crystal’s case with Goodwill’s Career Training Center was closed successfully but she continues to volunteers once a week to assist with clerical tasks and research local job opportunities for Goodwill Career Training Center participants. In addition to this she planned her wedding to P.J., who was also a resident at the G.I.B.B. Thomasville Village, and was happily married October 2011. In December 2011, Crystal achieved another goal of home ownership.
Leslie Hudson came to Goodwill Industries- Big Bend, Inc. in February 2011 for a Computer Workshop. Upon completing the workshop she enrolled in the Goodwill Job Placement Program. With the help of a Goodwill store manager and an Employment Specialist, Leslie was hired as a Goodwill clothes processor. Leslie knew she needed some help to get her life back on track. As a single mother of three she wanted a better life for her family. With no access to transportation she had to pay for rides. After a few months on the job, Leslie saw that Goodwill does more than help people find jobs. As part of the Goodwill Earn and Learn Program for employees, she enrolled in computer classes, GED classes, and the Money Sense workshop. During the Money Sense workshop, she had the opportunity to pull her credit report and look for balance mistakes. Leslie found out that she owed money to some creditors, so she called them to discuss a payment plan. She is taking responsibility for her past, and is moving on to her future. Leslie also enrolled into the GED program because she knew a high school diploma would allow her to move up the corporate ladder and apply for other jobs. Leslie started studying in the Valparaiso Computer Lab, and worked on homework at her house. She was very determined and knew that passing the GED test and getting a diploma would change her life forever. Leslie and another GED student found a ride to Marianna and drove 50 miles to take the official two-day GED test in July. Leslie passed the test and scored high enough to earn her high school diploma! “Goodwill is helping me change my life for the better” said Leslie. Leslie inspires her co-workers with her determination and motivation, and her winning smile. She exemplifies the word “success,” and we are glad to have her as part of the Goodwill family.
George Smith is a homeless unemployed veteran who arrived in Tallahassee, Florida from Valdosta Georgia. He is a participant in the computer training lab. George is also participating in the Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program. He came to the computer training lab after a friend told him how beneficial the program was. George invested his time into learning as much about computers as he could, and so far has completed the computer basics class and has earned proficiency certification in computer basics and Windows XP. George has since used his computer knowledge and confidence to become a local speaker in and around the Tallahassee area concerning issues of homelessness. George is a current member of the Tallahassee Homeless Speakers Bureau. He also went on to speak at the Quarterly Crisis Intervention training for the area’s Law Enforcement Officers.
George is a regular speaker in and around the Tallahassee area, as he continually receives invitations to local churches to recite his self written inspirational poetry. He is currently enrolled at Tallahassee Community College to begin classes in the fall semester of 2011. George will pursue a degree in culinary arts, and plans to apply his computer knowledge to assist him in his studies and one day to own his own restaurant. George has plans to continue using all the services Goodwill Big Bend has to offer, and acknowledges the fact that “without the services and support that I received from the CTC Department, I would not be on the road to achieving all of my goals today.”
You can find George increasing his computer skills at the Tallahassee Career Training Center, so keep an eye out for him. We expect to hear more wonderful things about him in the future!
Angela was a hard core drug addict, heavily addicted to crack cocaine. She was sentenced to prison after being charged with accessory to murder after watching her boyfriend beat to death an elderly man and not report it to the authorities. She lost her children and her life was at an ultimate low. During her time in prison, Angela got clean and got a job as a clothes processor in the Crawfordville Goodwill store. She worked during the day as part of the work release program with the Wakulla County Jail. Angela did such a great job, after her release from prison she was promoted to 3rd key then ultimately assistant manager. Angela has regained custody of her children and regularly speaks with other drug addicts about her journey, recovery, and success.
In August 2010, Jeanette Williams came to Goodwill’s Career Training Center in Thomasville, GA with little paid work history. She had experience as a homemaker and a strong desire to become independent and self-supporting.
Her love of people, both old and young, combined with a willingness to help, provided a good foundation for her to build a career. Jeanette was referred to childcare and eldercare facilities. Goodwill CTC’s orientation stresses networking as a way to greatly improve prospects of getting hired, by using the help of other people to find and get a job. Ms. Williams used this to good effect in her church; she was proud to get her first position as a part-time caregiver for a community member.
A subsequent part-time job as a caregiver in a church nursery was followed by another part-time position with a company that contracts with individuals to provide in-home care. In addition to juggling schedules for three part-time jobs, she decided to move her career forward by taking classes and obtaining certification as a Nurse’s Assistant. She completed this in April 2011 and received her certificate. Now she is taking classes to get her LPN certification and will use this to further her career.
Merill came to Goodwill on October 22, 2009 the first week the Bradfordville store was open. She had ridden a bike from her mother’s home in Killearn Lakes. She sat Mary Ann and Melanie down, asked for a job and told them she was ready to turn her life around. “I have two boys and I am on probation,” said Merrill. ” I am going to prove to you and my mother I can do this.”
Merrill had been incarcerated for twenty-one months and had just been released to live with her mother. Together they were able to get her boys back within the year. Today, she has full custody of them and is still living with her mother.
She is a Shoe and Accessories Processor but is cross-trained in E & M and Wares. She celebrated her year anniversary in October 2010 and was recognized as the Employee Success Story for the Board of Directors meeting.