Francisco Arellano came to Triad Goodwill’s Asheboro Career Center for our English as a Second Language class (ESL) and GED program. The free training helped him improve his English reading and comprehension skills. Unlike many ESL/GED students, Francisco always completed his “homework,” which helped him pass his GED test! “Before coming here, I struggled at work every day. I needed an interpreter and there wasn’t always someone available to translate for me. This made learning and working harder for me,” said Francisco. In order to learn more English, I would listen to people tell stories and I kept trying hard to understand what they were saying.”
Carrie is a graduate of Triad Goodwill’s Jobs on the Outside (J.O.T.O.) program. The classes helped her learn how to break down the barriers faced by ex-offenders. “J.O.T.O. allowed me to get the skill set I needed to rebrand myself and get back into the work force. They helped me realize I could pursue the career of my choice,” said Carollee.
I knew that I wanted to enter the workforce but it was not going to be easy. I have autism and needed assistance with my job seeking skills. That is when I reached out to my local Goodwill. When I first entered the Supported Employment Program that was offered at Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois and the Wisconsin Stateline Area, I did not have any job experience and needed assistance finding and maintaining a job. I was assigned to a job coach that would work with me every day to build my skills. I excelled in the program and soon learned the soft skills I needed to be successful in the competitive job market!
At almost 60 years old, I was laid off after 15 years with my previous company. With no GED, college or technical training plus my severe health problems, I had trouble finding a new job. One day, I discovered that Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids had a technical training program that could lead to employment in a call center. I applied and was accepted into the program. I am now able to work from home 4 days a week, which helps limit movement and pain for my disability. Best of all, both my husband and I now have health insurance. I love my job, they care about me as a person and I have great co-workers. I am so thankful for how much my life has improved since discovering the training program at my local Goodwill. I never would have guessed things would have turned out so well.
Goodwill means more to me than a paycheck. It’s where I have grown and built my confidence for nearly 20 years. I learned by working at my local Goodwill to deal with life and get along with people. I’ve found a place where I’m comfortable. And I’ve found peace at work and happiness.
When I first moved to Panama City, I went to go check out the local Goodwill store and little did I know that was going to be the start of my life. As I was leaving, I saw a sign about Goodwill offering free GED classes. I had dropped out of high school because of testing anxiety and other issues. As a result, I had a hard time getting a job. In fact, I have never even had a job before. Here in front of me was a sign – a sign that I needed to do something with my life.
I believe that the people there saved my life. I think that YouthBuild Omaha helped me do a complete 180. They are the main reason for my success and what I do. They helped me and now I help others and it brings me a lot of comfort knowing that I can do good being all that had happened before I was a part of their program.
Despite my recent accomplishments, my journey is far from over. I have aspirations to continue growing in my career and making a name for myself. My advice to anyone who feels like giving up is to keep pushing through and searching for new opportunities. I can’t stress how important it is for job seekers to grow their social and professional networks, whether they can do so on their own or need the assistance of organizations like Goodwill®. Get out, meet new people and see what opportunities are out there. Today, my future is looking brighter than ever, and I want to pay it forward by sharing my story in hopes of inspiring others to persevere.
Before coming to Goodwill Finland I drifted around for years studying, working fixed-term employment contracts and being unemployed. I also had some health problems. The puzzle of my life was always missing some pieces. I graduated from Business School in 1994 with a major in accounting, and then I did my military service in 1995.
Carra Wilson is an advocate for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, a true example that success in your professional and personal life is possible when you have both courage and a strong work ethic and seek help when needed. "I used to think I would never be able to keep a job, but through my dedication and hard work plus the support I received from Goodwill, I now have a job that I love."
I don’t think that I am doing anything out of the ordinary, just taking care of my household and doing what I am supposed to be doing. I have gone through the entire process because I don’t want my son to say that his dad has a disability so he couldn’t work. I want my son to say that his dad has a disability and he still works! I am playing with the cards that I was dealt and I can’t give up!