My Story: Johnnie Parker

Johnnie Parker

Before coming to Goodwill®, I was out of work living in Hahira, GA, and struggling just to get gas money to come to Valdosta to look for a job. My primary work experience included auto sales and finance collections — I had 17 years in auto sales and 13 years in finance. To my disappointment, I was unable to find a job in those fields.

I began looking at other careers, but my age of 65 seemed to hold me back, as many employers wanted to hire at younger ages. Besides being 65, I’m also a disabled veteran, so there were some physical requirements I was not able to meet for a lot of job openings.

I was getting very frustrated, as I needed a job desperately. In 2010, I received a call about having an interview at the Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers Career Center. During the interview, I found out a lot of information about Goodwill. I did not know that they offer so many free services to help job seekers.

I also discussed my skills and abilities, and let them know that I had a pre-planned trip to Florida to see my brothers for Christmas. What I didn’t let them know was that this was not just a Christmas trip, but rather a survival trip. I was broke, and out of gas and basic amenities.

Shortly after getting back into town, I got a call informing me that Goodwill wanted me to start working in the Career Center. I was very happy that the Career Center was taking a chance to help me improve on my acquired skills and learn new ones.

I initially started just 15 hours a week. The second week, the hours got increased to 25, and now they are increasing my hours even more. I now have a job that I feel really good about. Because I was out of work and looking so long, I really relate to people who are out of work. The fact that I can now help other people really makes me feel good about myself.

Hear more stories from people like Johnnie. »

Learn about Goodwill’s commitment to serving veterans and military families. »