LaTara became a mother at age 15, her freshman year of high school. She was scared but she also knew she had to do whatever it took to care for her child. “I couldn’t worry about education. I had to provide,” said LaTara. She dropped out of school and went to work.
Alicia Murphy came to Goodwill seeking her GED to provide new opportunities for her family. A young mother of two children, Alicia had dropped out of high school when she was 17 and had held several jobs including warehouse and waitressing positions, but what she really wanted was financial stability. Working in a warehouse was draining her both mentally and physically— and she knew she needed to further her education in order to kick start her career. Alicia had the drive to succeed, but like many people lacking education and work experience, she felt lost. She strived for independence, financial stability, and her own place to live.
At the encouragement of her close friend, Guadalupe moved from New York to Charlotte to find better opportunities and an improved lifestyle for herself and her 15-year-old daughter. Little did she know the COVID-19 pandemic would cause stay-at-home orders and hiring freezes just as they arrived.
As Fahad looks back on his life, hindsight is 2020. “When I was younger, I was uneducated, so I made mistakes,” he recalls. “I never put a lot of thought towards the things that I did. I was making mistake after mistake without even realizing I was making them, and it came back to bite me.”
Eulalio Martinez traveled 1,500 miles to move to Wisconsin, but he did not have a job lined up to sustain him when he arrived. For several weeks, he lived in his truck before moving into a local homeless shelter. One day, he walked a block away to Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin’s Green Bay East Retail Store and Training Center, where he approached a career navigator named Dawn and asked for help. He said he was looking for someone to take a chance on him.
In February 2020, Stephanie Richardson enrolled in the pharmacy technician program at Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake. Initially attending class at the Goodwill’s training center in downtown Baltimore, her participation was halted on March 20, 2020, due to COVID-19. Remaining focused on education and training, Stephanie elected to take the National Retail Federation Business of Retail online course during the closure. Training remotely, she worked diligently and at her own pace to acquire the retail certification.
When Gina Casteal walked into Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth looking for job training, she and her four children were homeless. They had been bouncing around different living arrangements, sometimes living with friends and family, and even living out of her car for a period of time. Their home had been foreclosed on when she was unable to pay the mortgage, and she needed help to get back on her feet.
Dania Velazquez knew she needed training and certifications to verify her skills and get started on her chosen career path, but her work schedule did not allow her to attend traditional classes. The first step on her journey was to attend a local hiring event, where she learned of the Goodwill Industries of Tulsa (OK) TulsaWORKS Google IT Support Professional Certificate program.
When Jeanne Najar-Marez applied to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) at Goodwill Industries of New Mexico (Albuquerque), she was looking for a resource to assist her with job training and employment. She had been out of the workforce for several years and had dealt with illness, homelessness and substance abuse during that time. She was on the waiting list in Bernalillo County, NM, for several months before she was able to enroll into SCSEP.