Journey to Employment

Journey to Employment

Often, management at national department store chains don’t cater to a person’s special needs,” said Barry, a donation collection worker at Goodwill Industries Vocational Enterprises, Inc.’s Duluth facility. “Goodwill is well equipped to work with people that need extra help.

After having struggles with his mental health for many years, 32-year-old Barry has been working at Duluth Goodwill since January of 2014, marking the longest continuous period of employment in his working life.

“I’ve been in the system for a long time,” said Barry. “I’ve had issues.”

In less than a year’s time, with a lot of hard work on his part, Barry has overcome his difficulties with communication and other workplace issues. When Barry began working at Goodwill, he was quiet and withdrawn. With the help of Goodwill and the job skills that he has learned, Barry has developed the confidence to communicate effectively with the customers daily in the donations area with a smile on his face!

“Every day I’m evaluating donations and furniture, it’s the first job of this kind I’ve had,” said Barry. “I’m starting to get it, and when I bring in a good piece of furniture, I feel good.”

Barry has his sights on purchasing a home, and his continued employment at Goodwill will allow him to do just that, an objective previously out of Barry’s reach.

“I think Goodwill is doing a good service—creating jobs for people that have barriers, people that wouldn’t be able to get jobs anywhere else,” said Barry.” “I’m picking up job skills, leadership skills.”

Gaining Self-Confidence at Goodwill

by Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth

Goodwill’s job training services for people with barriers to employment provide them with the job skills they need to succeed. But even more importantly, Goodwill’s programs give a brand-new sense of confidence to people like Jenny.

Jenny, 21, has worked at Goodwill for about two years. She got involved with Goodwill through the Department of Workforce Development after graduating from Superior High School.

“I was kind of interested in something that I could do,” Jenny said. “I tried it out.”

Jenny has thrived in many different areas of work at Goodwill’s main facility, including the sorting belt and the store. Her main work area right now is the rack department, where she sorts and categories clothing to be placed on sale in the store.

She enjoys her co-workers at Goodwill.

“I like the friends that I’ve made,” Jenny said.

Not only has Jenny met new people and gained valuable job skills; working at Goodwill has also given her new self-worth and pride in herself.

“I think it’s helped a lot with my confidence,” Jenny says. “I used to have low self-esteem and be really shy.”

Goodwill staff members have taken notice of Jenny’s hard work and increased confidence. At the 2012 Awards Luncheon, Jenny was honored with an achievement award for: “Increased assertiveness, a positive and friendly attitude, and dependability in both the rack and presort departments.”

Though she enjoys working at Goodwill, Jenny’s dream job would be to become a writer. In her free time, she loves to read and write stories. She also enjoys ice skating and traveling. One of her favorite recent trips was a vacation to Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has also been to Montana and Washington, D.C.

Jenny lives with her parents and has 20-year-old twin brothers, Josh and Jeff. Josh works at Goodwill in the mattress department.