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Success Story: Bill

Bill enjoys teaching his son Hezekiah how to hunt and fish, and has always been a hard worker. In his younger years, he held physically demanding jobs such as heavy equipment operator, and logger. Before working with Goodwill, Bill’s most recent employment required heavy lifting. In 2000, Bill was diagnosed with a heart defect and his doctors equipped him with a pacemaker but did not allow him to continue the same level of physical activity. Because of his restrictions, Bill was no longer able to continue working in his current position. Bill, his wife Karen and Hezekiah moved to Michigan with hopes of a better life.

When Bill’s physical status changed, he was no longer able to perform the same tasks. His physical limitations along with difficulty reading and writing, made the prospect of re-entering the workforce a challenge, and consequently, Bill was unemployed for 15 years. His family struggled financially while living off his limited Supplemental Security Disability Income(SSDI).

When Bill decided he wanted assistance in finding employment he was referred to Goodwill’s Supported Employment Program by Michigan Rehabilitation Services.

Bill sought out services from Goodwill because he thought he could benefit from working one-on-one with a job developer who would help him with all aspects of the job development process such as: résumé building, applying for jobs, interviewing, and relationship building. Unable to complete applications on his own, this assistance was critical.

Bill’s Goodwill job developer considered Bill’s desires, strengths, and challenges and began looking for a job in his community that would be a good fit for him. After three years in the program, with the support of his Goodwill job developer and his family, Bill was able to gain employment at the Walmart store in Fremont as a janitor. “She never gave up on me,” Bill says about his Goodwill job developer “Goodwill is a Godsend to people who can’t find jobs.”

Bill enjoys his job, takes pride in his work, and on October 19, he will celebrate his one year anniversary of employment. He is very happy to be back to work and supplementing his income.

Supported Employment Program

Targeted primarily toward people with developmental disabilities or mental impairment, this model of service provides one-on-one training and on-going support for successful transition to community-based employment. The program combines community job development, job coaching, and long-term follow-up to maximize employment potential. Participants are referred through Michigan Rehabilitation Services. 

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