When you shop our stores, you are supporting people in the local community. The revenue from the goods that are purchased fund our job training and placement programs. By shopping at Goodwill, you are supporting people like Angela who went through our LITE (Learning Independence through Experience) program for young adults on the autism spectrum, who is now working as an accountant or people like Joe, who went through our Certified Nurse Aide training and is now fully employed taking care of dementia patients. Thank you for supporting Goodwill!
More Success Stories
- Technology Training Success Story
In 2009, this individual finished an overseas career that included time in the U.S. Marine Corps and work as a government contractor. As a result of his service, he found himself challenged by PTSD and tinnitus. These two barriers made an already difficult transition into civilian employment even more difficult. Initially, he found work teaching English as a second language but his true passion was technology. An online training program improved his technology skills but unfortunately did not lead to a job.
In December 2015, he learned of a Goodwill program focused on giving people with significant disabilities the skills they need to pass the CompTIA A+ certification and find sustainable employment. He knew this was the stepping stone he needed to get into IT and was not going to let it slip away. After completing the 15 week training, he passed both of the required exams. Not only did he pass the exams, his scores on each ranked them in the top five scores for all of 2016.
Some people would have stopped and rested, content with what they had accomplished. Not him. He had his sights set higher. Soon, he had finished a previously uncompleted Bachelor’s degree. Still not satisfied, he also studied for additional certifications. He did all of this in his spare time while he gained experience in a new IT related job he had earned.
In a recent e-mail he said, “I appreciate everything you and the rest of the Goodwill team did for me and I enjoy seeing others head down the path of success as well.”
- Technology Training Success Story
The participant finished his service in the Coast Guard and planned on staying in Alabama, but a visit home to Michigan reminded him and his wife how much they missed it. They packed up their family and returned to Michigan. They hoped to get employment immediately, but the participant was only able to find temp work and his wife learned her CNA license was not valid in Michigan.
He discovered the CompTIA A+ training program at Goodwill and knew this was a great fit for his love of technology. He started the training while continuing to work temp jobs. Soon, summer was over. His family was still living in a camper and the nights were starting to get chilly. He and his wife made the difficult decision to return to Alabama, where jobs were waiting for them. The participant vowed to study on his own and be certified by the end of his kids’ school year.
True to his word, he finished his A+ training on his own and passed both exams. He and his family returned to Grand Rapids where he accepted a job with Peckham. Now, he makes a wage that will truly support his family. Plus, his wife has returned to work. A lot has changed since they were living in a camper.
- Prisoner Reentry Success Story
Participant success doesn’t just impact the participant, but those working with them as well. Here’s one Employment Specialist’s story…
I’ve had this participant since June. He enthusiastically embraced every single opportunity that Goodwill offered him. At the end of the summer he was hired directly at a great company. He stated that all of the skills obtained through our program were definitely utilized during the job search and interviewing process. He verbalizes appreciation for our help and support each time we speak. One day, I stopped by his home to drop off paperwork and it started raining, so I offered to drive him to work instead of him walking 4 miles to the bus stop. While driving, he told me that he probably would have found employment on his own, but all of the additional support, empathy, willingness to listen, care, concern, time spent individually looking for jobs, going above and beyond, career coaching, etc made it easier to just focus on obtaining employment. As he was getting out of my car he said, “This has meant the world to me, that you helped me get back on track. You’re going to change the lives of many, many people.” I got all emotional when he got out. That’s why I love my job so much. And also, the taco bar.
- GoodSTART Success Story
In March 2016, Goodwill’s northern team launched a new program that offers Employability and Life Skills workshops to those in the Mecosta County Jail in Big Rapids. After just 3 months, it has already been a great success! The program has served over 75 individuals and received the following feedback from its participants.
“I attend the Lifeskills program….it has been extremely helpful for me and I have learned some things I didn’t know. Excellent things I think I can use on the outside.”
“I’m writing you because I’m serious about changing my life and the only way for me to do so is by obtaining legal employment.”
Lives and communities are being changed!
- Achieve Program Success Story
When this individual entered Achieve programming, it was evident that he felt weighed down by a history of making poor choices. Lack of education, lack of work history, and a criminal background were making it hard for him to move forward and causing him to question whether choosing a different lifestyle would even be possible. While in Achieve, he found a new start as he learned not only about job searching and employer expectations but also how to be responsible, accountable, and to persevere. Though initially skeptical, he consistently demonstrated a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and commitment to his future. The more he was surrounded by people who believed in him and the more steps he took in the right direction, the more he began to believe in himself. With the program’s help, he participated in a transitional work experience first with the Kent County Recycle Center to establish a stable work history and then with one of our employer contacts where he was hired in for demonstrating good attendance and a strong work ethic. This individual will reach one year on his job this month and has not missed a day since starting. He is proud to be employed and to be the positive role model he had hoped to be for his children.
- Success Story
In June 2015, two Goodwill staff met a man at the Kentwood Community Church Job Fair. The man had been searching for work without success for 5 years, had gotten discouraged by lack of results, and was starting to apply for disability. He mentioned that he had worked with computers for many years and would like to continue to do so. The staff explained services available and connected him with the Goodwill Achieve program and the Technology training program.
While in Achieve, he was able to improve his resume, cover letter, and interview skills. Most importantly, he found the motivation to move forward and began to believe in himself again. Due to his interest in computers and eligibility, he joined the Technology training program and successfully earned his A+ certification. In November, he started working full time for Goodwill’s partner organization, Peckham, as a help desk technician!
Goodwill is thankful for the partnership with Kentwood Community Church that allows us to make life changing connections with job seekers.
- Northern Success Story
A couple months ago, the WIOA North program had their first group of youth participants attend the Customer Service Training. During the first week, two of the participants in the group asked if they could design a board game for review. The instructor agreed as long as the game was professional and based on review material. The day before the exam, these two participants brought in a game for the group to play. They made the board, all of the rules, and provided all of the content, including customer service trivia cards and scenarios that would have to be acted out to display/practice customer service. The game was a very successful hit! The students took the exam and all four of the participants passed and received the Customer Service and Sales certification from the NRF Foundation! Now, two of them are working towards other certifications and two are completing work experiences through Goodwill.
- REACH Success Story
To say the least, the participant has had a rough couple years. She has experienced strain in family relationships, homelessness, and being improperly medicated for her mental illness, among other things.
Through all of these life challenges, the participant still faithfully attended meetings with her Employment Specialist (ES) at Goodwill. She worked with her ES to create a resume and cover letter. She also worked with local community partners to receive help in finding housing and obtaining the right medication. All of her hard work and the support and coaching from her ES paid off as she secured gainful employment. Because of her success on the job, her hours were increased and she now has the ability to financially support herself. She is grateful to Goodwill for helping her get her life back on track.