This month, we celebrated National Digital Inclusion Week. If you haven’t heard of this commemorative week before, it focuses on the concept that “everyone deserves the opportunity to use technology to live, learn, work and thrive.”
At Goodwill®, we’ve seen first-hand how digital skills can change someone’s life.
Cassy Swindle was one such individual. When she was 12 years old, Cassy’s father passed away. The death pushed Cassy deeper into depression and anxiety, eventually leading her to hang out with what she described as a tough crowd.
In 2012, she was homeless, couldn’t care for her three-year-old son and had another baby on the way. She eventually found a job and even an apartment, but when her job cut her hours, she faced the possibility of being homeless again in 2016.
Cassy spoke to the director of the homeless shelter she had previously stayed at to see if he had any recommendations. That’s when he directed her to Goodwill Industries of Arkansas (Little Rock).
After hearing Cassy’s story, the manager of the Jonesboro store decided to hire her as a cashier. Over the years, Cassy went from part-time to full-time and eventually earned the title of assistant manager.
As an assistant manager, Cassy started working more with the career development side of Goodwill. She was adamant that she wanted to help people in the same way that Goodwill helped her.
With the support of a Career Navigator, Cassy enrolled in the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator class. The new skills she learned from the course opened the door to new opportunities.
When a job in the career center opened up, she was a perfect fit. The new position resulted in a 22% raise and a set schedule, which means Cassy can now afford more for her family without sacrificing time spent with her children.
When reflecting on her time with Goodwill, Cassy said, “I didn’t know Goodwill had anything like this. I thought it was just a store, [but] it gave me hope that I can do more than I thought I could do.”