Goodwill often acts as a stepping stone for people who need help moving forward in their career. Through our programs, we are able offer training and support to help move an individual from where they are to where they want to be. Sharon Welch is one such client. She came to us through the Vocational Rehabilitation Services program, because she was only working two days a week at her job at that time and was struggling to support herself; she wanted a more fulfilling, full-time position.
She was referred to our Self-Paced Applications in a Computer Environment (SPACE) program, which helps participants gain computer skills that can be crucial to getting a job in today’s job market. She not only learned how to use Excel and Word, but she also learned about our Careers in Retail program when Jenny Heaton, the program coordinator, came to speak to her class. Sharon shared, “I remember when she came into Penny’s SPACE classroom, and talked about what they were going to do- the initial meeting, and I was there for that.”
The first group of Careers in Retail students started soon after that, and Sharon was a part of it but soon left the program to pursue a new field. She explained “I thought I would be really good at going into a surgical tech program, and before I left I talked to Jenny and I told her ‘I think I am going to do this and study to become a surgical tech… if it doesn’t work out there, I want to come back.’ When it didn’t work out in the surgical tech program, I called Jenny and she said that they were starting a new program that was starting the next day, so I didn’t have to wait long.”
After that brief set-back, she rejoined the program and began attending classes again. “I loved the classes that Jenny taught, and I just think she is so gifted at speaking, reaching people, business, and knowing what employers want. I sat in those classes more than once, because when I was in there, I felt motivated, and that I was actually going to get a job and felt encouraged. So I would continue to go back to those classes, even after I had already taken them. Jenny is such that she doesn’t follow a script, so you learn things that you didn’t hear before” she said of her experience in class.
Jenny was also able to help her reformat her resume and start a profile on LinkedIn. “Jenny redid my resume. She was telling me how to do it, and I felt very overwhelmed. I left her alone for 15 minutes and she came out with this resume. She is amazing, and I was extremely thankful,” Sharon shared. She was then referred by Jenny to her current job at DNN where she works as an Administrative Assistant. Sharon stated that “Jenny helped me get this job because she referred me, and without the referral, I wouldn’t be there.”
Sharon claims that Goodwill did something for her that she would not have done by herself, and she is happy where she is working now. She said about her new employer, “The men I work with, you couldn’t ask for nicer men. They are just really quality guys- very polite and caring.” The skills that she was able to learn through our programs have helped her since her first day, she says. “The first thing that I had to do was fill out an expense report on Excel, and I was concerned about it, but it wasn’t a problem at all. It went really well.” She is now a full-time employee and is able to support herself more easily, which is a dream come true.