Indiana Man with Criminal Background Finds Fresh Start with Support from Goodwill®

Goodwill Industries International Names Dylan Snell its 2019 Graduate of the Year

Anderson, IN — By the time he turned 19, Dylan Snell was facing a felony theft charge. He was a high school dropout with no home, no job and no transportation. Seven years later, he has turned his life around, achieving professional success and paying off his court-ordered restitution. For his persistence, determination and optimism, Goodwill Industries International is honoring Snell as its 2019 Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year.

Snell grew up in a comfortable home outside Indianapolis, but the area was hit hard during the recession. “The town lost a lot of factories. Jobs became scarce,” he said. “My father lost his job. He did a lot of drinking. We lost our home. And that was when I kind of drifted away.”

Snell began couch-surfing, moving from one friend’s house to another. He dropped out of high school and went to work at a gas station.

He ended up in jail, charged with theft for giving away gas to his friends. That’s when he knew he had to make a change.

“When I left the detention center, I had made the decision that it was time to figure myself out,” he said.

On the advice of a friend, Snell enrolled at Goodwill’s Excel Center®, a unique tuition-free high school geared for adults to earn a high school diploma as well as industry-recognized certifications and dual credits — all at no cost. Founded in 2010 by Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, The Excel Center helps adults remove barriers by offering supports such as free onsite child care and transportation assistance for students. Snell credits The Excel Center staff for making sure he had transportation to his classes and food for lunch.

At his graduation, Snell met Kent A. Kramer, then-vice president of retail operations at Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, who encouraged him to call if he needed a job. Snell took him up on the offer, and began working in retail at a local Goodwill store.

“Dylan came to us with a dream. He was just looking for an opportunity,” said Kramer, now president and CEO of Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana. “He worked his way up from a cashier to a team leader to assistant manager, and then worked with one of our life coaches to find employment outside of Goodwill. We are really proud of Dylan and all that he’s accomplished.”

Snell is now a project manager at Kirby Risk Electrical Supply in Indianapolis, where he works on large-scale electrical contracts from bidding through delivery. He has a car and a home, and has paid off his debts.

“Dylan wanted to turn his life around and get back into the workforce. What he needed was a second chance,” said Steven C. Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “His local Goodwill supported him with education and work training, connected him with an employer, and helped him envision a pathway to a well-paying career.”

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.


Malini Wilkes
Public Relations and Multimedia Manager
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5523

Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana changes lives every day by empowering people to increase their independence and reach their potential through education, health and employment. The organization serves 39 Indiana counties and operates more than 70 retail locations, as well as charter schools for adults and youth, a maternal-child health program, a child care center and more.

Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 160 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. GII is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the organization’s highest rating for charities. For the past three years, Goodwill was ranked in the top five brands that inspired consumers the most with its mission in the World Value Index, commissioned by the creative agency, enso. Goodwill has been on Forbes’ list of top 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years, the only nonprofit featured on that list.

Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that offer job placement and training services, and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,300 stores collectively and online at®.

Goodwill helps people facing challenges to finding employment, including people with disabilities, veterans and military families, youth and young adults, older workers, people reintegrating into society, and others working to advance their careers. Local Goodwill organizations build revenues and expand employment opportunities by contracting with commercial, state, government and non-government organizations to provide a wide range of business services, including janitorial and grounds maintenance, flexible staffing, food service, manufacturing and contracts packaging, reverse logistics, document imaging and shredding, and laundry services.

Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed more than 288,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 36 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills, and more than two million people received in-person services.

Goodwill is both an icon and accessible neighbor: more than 82 percent of the U.S. population resides within 10 miles of a Goodwill location.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl.