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 When Barry began working at Goodwill, he was quiet and withdrawn.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.”