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    My Story: Melissa Lambright

    At almost 60 years old, I was laid off after 15 years with my previous company. With no GED, college or technical training plus my severe health problems, I was feeling down and out. After I sent out over 200 applications with no success, I was desperate. My husband was employed but he had health problems of his own and no health insurance. I needed to find a position that was compatible with my body’s needs, paid a sustainable wage, and included health benefits.

    One day, I discovered that Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids had a technical training program that could lead to employment in a call center.  The wage was around $20 per hour and it included benefits.  This certainly sounded like a dream come true, but I was worried that I would not meet the requirements.  At my old job, I became pretty good with Microsoft Office but I never gave much thought to how computers work or how to troubleshoot issues. However, being a tough and persistent person, I was not willing to let these challenges stop me.

    I was accepted into the program with Goodwill’s support. Over the course of a 15-week training, I soaked-up a tremendous amount of information.  Finally, it was time to take the first of two exams. I successfully passed my first exam after only two attempts, however, the version of exams would soon be replaced with a new one.  I had focused all my energy on passing the second exam before this version was retired.  I took the second exam twice, but missed passing by a small margin each time. Unfortunately, before I could try again, the new exam was implemented. I was devastated.

    My local Goodwill contacted me and encouraged me to go through the class again. The environment at my local Goodwill was very supportive and provided multiple tools to help me succeed. Once I learned the new concepts, it was time for me to take the exams again.

    I not only passed the first exam after one try, but I passed the second exam on the first try as well!  It was a very emotional moment, which included the biggest smile imaginable, tears of joy, and utter relief.

    Soon after, I was hired into the call center for the position that I had been striving for!  The work was challenging but I studied very hard to prepare for this position, which prepared me to handle all the tasks that were designated to me.

    I am now able to work from home 4 days a week, which helps limit movement and pain for my disability. Best of all, both my husband and I now have health insurance. I love my job, they care about me as a person and I have great co-workers. I am so thankful for how much my life has improved since discovering the training program at my local Goodwill. I never would have guessed things would have turned out so well.

    I tell everybody about Goodwill, I want them to know that if they have something they need, go talk to Goodwill, they are unbelievable.

    When I was feeling like I wasn’t doing good enough, they pumped me up and told me you can do it. And by golly, I did.

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