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Success Story: Colton 

Colton’s learning disability made him doubt his abilities and led him down a path of unfortunate decisions. “I received disability money my whole life... I did not think I could work so I ran the streets starting at an early age causing me to get in a lot of trouble.” Desperation set in after he became a father to two children. “I knew I wanted to live a better life for them but I did not know how. I could not support my kids on my disability money each month so I did what I knew; I made money in the streets,” Colton said.

Making money on the streets resulted in several felonies on Colton’s record. In December of 2016, Colton was referred to Goodwill’s Empowering Ex-offenders in Transition (EXIT) program by the Muskegon County Circuit Court. When he came to Goodwill, he had no direction. “I didn’t know what a goal was.” That all quickly changed when Colton set his sights on completing 10 weeks of skill building during his first phase in the EXIT program. The training included manufacturing skills training and labs, resume development, interview skills, employment retention, Moral Reconation Therapy, parenting classes, financial coaching classes, reading and math, simulated work experience, community service work and extensive case management. His case manager noticed that Colton had “a good attitude when communicating with staff” and that he seems to “really want to make the changes he needs to stay out of trouble.”  

Colton’s dedication, good attitude, and work paid off in March of 2017 when he was hired as a line operator at Michigan Spring and Stamp. “I didn’t think that I would like to work but I do,” Colton says of his new job. “The best part about my job is the people. They really care.” Colton’s supervisor Sean Glombowski at Michigan Spring and Stamp is impressed with Colton’s work ethic. “Colton has been an asset to his team here at Michigan Spring. He performs his job as directed, completes any tasks assigned, and does it with a smile on his face. He has been on time and present for all of his shifts. We could use more team members like Colton,” Sean said. 

There is no doubt that it took hard work for Colton to succeed. He has put himself on a good path and he credits much of his success to the support he has received from EXIT. “I am not in the streets anymore. I am setting a good example for my kids, something I definitely was not doing before.  EXIT helped me understand I can do things differently.” Colton is an example of the power work has to transform lives. Steady work in a supportive environment has helped Colton realize his potential and from here, the sky is the limit. “EXIT helped me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to.  It may take me longer, I have to work harder and be patient, but I can do it.” 

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