I felt like society would never give me another chance because I had a violent criminal background. I made some terrible choices in my past, and I just didn’t know how to overcome those challenges when dealing with employers or society. It was difficult for me to find the resources to improve myself, my self-esteem as well as my confidence within myself. When I left prison, I knew it was going to be a journey — I just didn’t know where to start.
I found out about Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina’s program through the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice. I took a week-long job readiness class. After the class, I started my job search, and it was 9-to-5 every day. I was on foot, of course, and I started at one end of a street and I finished on another.
Luckily, a job posting came open as a machine operator at Carolina Fabric four or five weeks after I finished the job readiness class. I obtained the job; it was only minimum wage at the time, but I went into the job with an attitude of gratitude.
In the past year and a half, I’ve been going to night school for welding, as I aspire to be certified welding inspector.
I would tell people looking for a job that you should never judge what you’ve done in the past. The first step is to forgive yourself — because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
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