In October of 2019, Della Turner found herself out of work. Everything had changed since she last searched for employment, and companies that were hiring required skills that she did not learn in her line of work. She knew it was time to update her skills. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security referred Della Goodwill Industries of Mississippi (Ridgeland) WIN Job Center, where she enrolled in digital skills training.
“Through this program, I could learn for free with an outstanding and accessible instructor in my area,” Della says. “The training location was very convenient and helpful because of all the resources that WIN Job Center offers. It is like a one-stop shop.”
When the pandemic hit and Goodwill’s in-person classes temporarily closed, access to class material remained available online. Della took advantage of many of Goodwill’s virtual services, including skills training, unemployment insurance assistance, employability, mentoring and job coaching and résumé help.
“Whatever I needed, they would try to assist me,” she says. “Goodwill has provided me the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment. I was given the support and encouragement that I need to remain positive during a difficult time in my life.”
Della says Goodwill’s many offerings were a valuable asset which could have been costly if provided through another organization. She was able to take classes while networking and taking advantage of job opportunities. She says she was in the right place to learn and job hunt at the same time.
When the government-mandated shut-down in Mississippi occurred, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security was seeking employees. Della landed a position as an employment specialist II. She is applying the skills she learned at Goodwill in her work life, including using Microsoft productivity software, email and the internet for communication with applicants, assisting with résumé critiques, and helping people career searching so they can get back to work.
Her new position fits her personality well. Even as student, her leadership and coaching skills were evident. She would often help other learners in her courses grasp difficult concepts. There were also other older job seekers like Della in her skills training courses who would become frustrated, and Della would tell them, “I feel the same way. But, we can do this.”
Now that she is working full-time, Della is determined to complete the training courses she started at Goodwill. She has bought a computer so she can complete courses after her work hours. “It is so important that I complete this training. There is still so much more to learn,” she says.