My Story: Randy Bakker

I was born with hydrocephalus, a condition that caused pressure on my optic nerve, and I have been visually impaired most of my life. As a young man in the late 1970s, I enrolled in a work training program at Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa (Des Moines). I was hired as a dishwasher at the Iowa State Capitol, where I worked for 14 years. I later worked for the Iowa Department for the Blind for two years. But then I did not work for a period of about 10 years.

I decided to return to Goodwill for additional training because I was tired of sitting around, and I wanted something to do. I knew that I could pick up new skills through the Goodwill Work Development Program. I enrolled in Goodwill’s Food Service Program in early 2015, and graduated in May of last year.

I worked with the Goodwill’s employment specialist Amy Butler, who helped me find a job as a dishwasher at Hoyt Middle School. Amy was really helpful. She was persistent and kept on trying to get me interviews. In a few weeks, I was hired by the school district.

I’m getting around in my job pretty well now. It’s challenging. You’ve got to be fast and make sure everything is done right. You have to think ahead about how you will do a good job. There’s a lot to do. Job coach Karin Carver works with me regularly to make sure things are going smoothly at work.

Goodwill did a good job in training me. Goodwill really helped me a lot. I had a good experience there. In fact, I referred my friend to Goodwill, and he’s there now.