My Story: Elton Fields

by Beth Hannon-Penny, Older Worker Services Program Director, Goodwill Industries International

Elton spent many years out of work before coming to Goodwill. He often performed heavy manual labor to make ends meet, but the cycle eventually became burdensome, so he sought help from the Senior Community Service and Employment Program (SCSEP) at Goodwill Industries of the Valleys in Roanoke, VA. Elton had heard about the program from friends who were living at the same transitional living center.

Elton enrolled in SCSEP in 2018 and quickly developed a clear career plan with the help of the staff at Goodwill. He had lacked the computer skills and basic work experience needed for most available positions in the area, and he wanted to focus on adding new skills to his toolkit so that he wouldn’t have to return to manual labor.

Elton took part in basic computer training provided by Goodwill and attended soft skills workshops in teamwork, customer service and time management. With new skills and a growing confidence, he began training at his community assignment at the Hunting Hills Goodwill Store in Roanoke.

Elton’s work ethic, positive attitude and attention to detail made him stand out, and in December 2020, he was hired by the Goodwill store and immediately received a 14 percent increase in wages. As a result of the services Goodwill provided, Elton found a fresh start. The changes in his life have given him a sense of accomplishment and pride.

“Goodwill is not just a secondhand clothing store, it’s an attitude,” Elton shared at a recent check-in with his Goodwill support staff. He hopes to tell others about SCSEP and help them learn the skills they need to thrive.

All older Americans deserve the opportunity to thrive. Goodwill helps them through paid training, upskilling, ongoing training and assistance finding jobs that provide livable wages. If you are an older worker seeking help with training or paid work experience, please contact your local SCSEP representative to see if you qualify. Find a SCSEP location near you to see if you qualify.