ROCKVILLE, MD — Goodwill Industries International recently announced Katie Reigelsperger as its 2023 Graduate of the Year and Taylor Devenport as the 2023 Achiever of the Year. The announcement was made at the Goodwill Delegate Assembly in Anchorage, Alaska on June 25th. Both Reigelsperger and Devenport were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in overcoming significant challenges and breaking barriers to obtaining employment through the support of their local Goodwill organizations.
Katie Reigelsperger was named this year’s Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year. Through grit and determination and taking full advantage of Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s professional development opportunities, Reigelsperger was able to overcome tremendous obstacles in her path. At 13 years of age, Katie became a teen mom, lacking a support system as her parents were struggling with substance abuse and alcoholism. She was forced to drop out of school. She worked a series of low-paying jobs that lacked advancement, had little financial security, and no benefits while taking care of her young child. She discovered the Excel Center®, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s tuition-free high school for adults, and her career path and life changed for the better.
She worked hard to gain experience as well as leadership and mentorship skills that enabled her to earn a Pharmacy Technician Certification from The Excel Center®, and ultimately helped her start her own business: KLR Pharmacy Technician Training School. Katie’s vision for her company is to pay it forward by providing education and job placement opportunities to those struggling to find their way in a career path, with a focus on promoting development of soft skills for students who’ve dealt with similar life struggles.
Taylor Devenport was named this year’s Achiever of the Year. Devenport was born prematurely, which led to delays in her development. While in high school, she needed extra time to complete class work and was enrolled in special education classes to address her learning challenges. While taking special education classes, she was referred by her School-to-Work coordinator to Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin’s (NCW) School-to-Work program. This opportunity equipped her with the self-confidence, job and leadership skills she needed to achieve her career goals and help others do the same. During her time at Goodwill NCW, she built valuable skills that led to her receiving several job promotions and sustained employment.
Today, Devenport is a Senior Job Coach and works in the La Crosse Goodwill store coaching and mentoring program participants and team members. She is a role model and inspiration to her peers and team leaders at Goodwill NCW. She often applies her personal experience and unique point of view when helping others, including creating visual aids to help those struggling with written or verbal instructions, teaching others how to ask questions when they do not understand and believing that everyone can succeed.
“Katie and Taylor exemplify the strength and determination needed to improve a life through learning and work. Their ability to break through barriers and commit to realizing opportunities for themselves and their families is truly inspiring,” said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Through Goodwill, they gained valuable skills and work experience that made it possible for them to grow and lead in their respective fields, and we are proud to honor their remarkable efforts.”
Katie’s story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr7AwDZF9g4
Taylor’s Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfXTTK_xyUE
About the Graduate of the Year Award: The Goodwill Industries International Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year award recognizes an outstanding person with a disability or disadvantaging condition who completed a Goodwill career services program and is competitively employed by a non-Goodwill employer.
About the Achiever of the Year Award: Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year is a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.
ABOUT GOODWILL INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL
Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, building bridges to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their potential through learning and the power of work.
For more than 120 years, 155 local Goodwill® organizations across North America have helped people find jobs, support their families, and feel the satisfaction that comes from working. Goodwill organizations assist people through a variety of employment placement services, job training programs and other community-based services. Thousands of people receive employment and other human services through Goodwill and, in 2022, they helped more than 2 million people build skills, access resources and advance careers.
Goodwill sells donated items in nearly 3,300 outlet and retail stores in the United States and Canada and online at shopgoodwill.com®, the first nonprofit internet auction site, and other online marketplaces. The revenue creates job placement and training programs to help people earn paychecks and build their careers.
For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit goodwill.org. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl. Register for our Legislative Action Center via advocate.goodwill.org.