My Goodwill Story: Jose Mendoza

When faced with a problem, you find a solution. That’s the mindset that Jose has had his entire life. 

At just one-year-old, he began to lose his vision. Doctors never told him why, but over time, he progressively became more visually impaired. In 2008, he moved to America from Mexico when he was still young.

He struggled to find employment while in the U.S. He was eventually connected with Open Avenue Job Coaching Services, which referred him to Goodwill Industries of Arkansas (Little Rock.) Jose says he had heard some good things about Goodwill before the referral. He knew that Goodwill didn’t just provide employment but actually helped people progress into long-term careers. That was exactly what he wanted. 

He started working with Goodwill Industries of Arkansas as a part-time retail employee but quickly discovered that his long-term goal was to become an interpreter. He started small by helping the clients of Goodwill who didn’t speak English. Over time, he was eventually promoted to a full-time retail position. Currently, Jose is working on his path to becoming a full-time interpreter for Goodwill with help from the disability services team. 

No matter what challenges arrive, Jose still finds the solution. When the store he worked at expanded, he never saw the new layout as a problem. He learned to navigate the new layout and used a device to help him read the product tags and signage throughout the store. 

While working at Goodwill, Jose has also improved his social skills and his finances. 

When asked if he had any advice for others on a similar journey, Jose said, “Always stay positive. Never live in fear.”

We’re happy to share Jose’s story in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. If you’re looking to learn more about Goodwill job training programs or career search assistance contact your local Goodwill organization.